I am not asking which computer to buy. I'm not asking for a recommendation. I'm just asking which computer missionaries have found to be adequate for the programs used in a family search mission.
It might depend on which type of mission you are participating in, but most of the work that our mission does is online, so any type of computer that accesses the internet well should work. It appears that good internet access may be the more critical component for a mission.
@Smyth MJ - Happy New Year! and thank you for initiating this discussion, it has been very interesting. My only real comment relates to screen size. When I knew I was being called as a part time FS Support Missionary I decided my 10 year old laptop needed to be upgraded. I didn't (and still don't) have a desktop computer so I decided to invest in a much higher spec. 13" ACER laptop which has never let me down and is much quicker to operate than my old one. However, one thing I didn't consider was the need to regularly share my screen, and to allow others to share theirs with me. When that happens the image on my screen reduces in size significantly and I find it difficult to follow along with them. I also acquired a second screen but was never properly shown how to use it. I believe it will be a great benefit to me on my mission but I need to access proper training to facilitate that. So, good luck with your mission. Get good advice from the technical people in your group to avoid wasting money, and ultimately time.
John L. Kennedy.
yeh - clearly a reliable brand is important - you can check reviews etc. for different brands
but much more important than what brand - will be the characertistics of the laptop- whatever the brand is.
what OS, (Mac or Windows)
how much RAM at last 8 - preferably 16 MB
how much hard drive - personally I wouldnt buy less than 1 TB HD
Size: will a smaller screen be ok - or are there reasons you may want/need a larger screen size
Optional Monitor - you may seriouslky consider what it would take to make your laptop able to use a 2nd (full size) monitor - though this is not a requirement - it can make things muich easier once you get used to using two displays
Weight - how heavy is too heavy? a personal choice.
What kind of sofware comes pre-installed? Can be a very important question if you need someting like MS Office . What softare will you install and how.
Antivirus software - - there are various FREE options - but you should ensure someone knowing what they are doing sets it up.
Some sort of backup option - so you dont lose the data on your hard drive - which sooner or later will fail
Will you need a printer?
You can get a reliable computer that will meet your mission needs from virtually any of the leading brands
though some may have better service plans than others - if you need quick and easy support.
how much money you are willing to part with will also be a factor - though in my opinion - you get what you pay for . . . genrally speaking (i.e. beware of the cheap brands - but dont think you need to buy the most expensive unit either ) - most Average BASIC computers have enough power to run FamilySearch).
buy somewhere in the "middle of the road" - where you will have a computer that will be useable for years to come.
I totally agree
good technical help in actually setting up and using your computer - can be highly valuable. You can have the perfect system - but if no one shows you how to set it up , configure it and use it - it can end up being nothing but frustration.
a Good mentor (a knowledge friend or associate) - can be much more valuable than some super nice computer.
yeh - thats a basic computer these days - for any use. You would also want to get the latest operating system (Windows version)
Most new computers these days would have those specs
Personally I would never buy a computer without a hard drive. (Chrome books etc,)
@Smyth MJ You asked about the MSI laptops. I bought both of mine through Costco last year. One is a Raider GE75 and one is a Raider GE76. We have been pleased with both of them. Purchased when on sale between $1000 and $1300. They are powerful enough to run the 3D modeling software that my high school kids used for their classes. They both have keys to manually lock the webcam and turn the fan and internet on and off (the fan is great, but really loud!)
Yes, I have excellent internet access.
So which manufacturer have missionaries found to be adequate for a missikn focused on Family Tree.
I agree things like a poor internet connection - can totally nullify - any good computer.
another huge factor is RAM size - I would at least get 8 MB - and if you can 16.
another factor is how much are you really storing on the computer . . . Im guessing you really may not need to store so much on your device - but I would at least get 1 TB Hard drive.
also keep in mind the computer will outlast your mission - - if it were me - I would want something that will be good for use even beyond the mission .
another factor is how big or small you want the computer to be.
small may be light weight - but bigger will be larger screen size.
Don't know that the brand matters. I have an HP desktop computer, two MSI laptops and a Dell desktop that I use at different times. All are on Windows 10 or 11. They have all worked equally well at accessing the internet programs and tools provided for my mission. I know others in my mission use Apple computers just fine as well.
I totally agree - there are other huge factors that are more important than just brand
though if it were me I would still want to choose a brand that has solid reviews and that will be easy to service if you do have issues.
I would choose a brand that I know and trust based on past experience.
but if you are not a significant computer user up till now - choosing which brand can be intimidating and confusing - with no clear answer.
As a former FS missionary, I found that having two monitors was a huge advantage - so that would be another thing to consider when choosing a computer.
Thank you very much.
@Smyth MJ = you are entirely welcome. 😀
do I assume correctly that you will be serving out of your own home and not at some work location?
that could be a important factor on the type of device you use and its attributes. (such as how portable the device is - versus how big the screen is)
and will this be your first computer for your home/use?
Yes, working at home.
I have owned several computers.
my current laptop uses Windows, 8.1. It is seven years old and will not upgrade. I wish to buy a new laptop. Just want to get a reliable brand.
I believe FamilySearch moved to a more advanced technological platform in June, 2021. When I tried to index on my iPad in 2022, I received a message that I needed to upgrade my iPad. So I bought a new iPad.
I am told now that if I want to serve a FamilySearch mission, I need to upgrade my laptop computer. You have been helpful in suggesting the specs I need in a new computer. I have to ask myself if I want to go through a learning process of a new computer when my current laptop functions just fine with Family Tree.
My thoughts are, no I do not. So, instead of a mission, I can qualifying deceased relatives for temple ordinances and complete those ordinances. As a convert, I have much temple work to do. So, if I spent a minimum of 16 hours a week in FH/temple work, I will be gathering Israel on the other side of the veil. That could take the place of a mission. So that may be my decision. Also, I will not need to go through a couple of months of training for the mission.
May I ask what computer platform FamilySearch moved to that requires me to upgrade my computer? Or is that important. And what are your thoughts on the above?
It would be interesting to see - what would not work (if anything at all) if you continue to use your existing device
they simply probably upgraded their "bare minimum specs" to some slightly higher specifications
(things like OS versions, Browser versions, RAM, Hard Drive space etc,)
Did they give you a set of specs?
how do they know your existing computer is not useable???
Can whoever told you what they did - provide specs on what is required?
Here are some thoughts. You need to keep in mind the general process of computer technological process:
This is why web developers, such as FamilySearch, only support a limited number of versions of browsers. FamilySearch states that for them, this means the current version minus one. For Firefox, this means only version 107 and 108 are guaranteed to work right. The farther back in versions you go, the more will start going wrong until it just won't work at all for FamilySearch.
This is true for operating systems as well. According to Microsoft, the end of life for Windows 8.1 is January 10, 2023. That is two days from now. That means you will never again get another security update or fix to your computer operating system. When this point is reached, no one should ever be using Window 8 for anything. It's just too risky.
Also, no hardware lasts forever. Screens fizzle out. Keyboards break. And most seriously, hard drives die. That is why most businesses view the life of a computer to be five years. Then they get replaced.
Whether you decide to do a mission or not, it is time to get a new computer before you wake up one morning and find your current one is useful only as a doorstop.
I agree - whether you serve a mission or not - a laptop with Windows 8.1 needs to be replaced.
If not you are putting you and your data at risk.
one needs to realize that when you buy a computer - you are not just buying something that you will be able to use until it stops working or breaks
RATHER you will be able to use the computer as long as its operating system, system specs, and software version are supported by the industry and by the sites and services you want to use it for. as the previous person stated that ends up being about 5 years - maybe somewhat longer - but the longer you go the more risk you put yourself in.
Let me ask you this: If your computer died today - what data on your computer would you lose? can you afford to lose such data?? THat is another reason to upgrade every five years as well as ensure your data is backed up.
the Windows 8 version along with its functionality of FamilySearch on your computer is just one factor. It could indeed work for a while longer . . .
other factors are:
The warranty - which I imagine is expired, an aging hard drive that could soon crash, installed software for which new versions probably no longer support Windows 8, lower sizes of Ram and Hard drive that just dont work well with more recent software.
but if / when you do buy a new computer . . .
I would seriously consider finding some sort of mentor that can work with you in learning your new computer and how to set up the software/hardware.
This can be so much more valuable - than just buying the latest computer - that can generate a lot of frustration if you struggle to learn how to use it.
but a good investment - whether you serve a mission or not - someone you can learn from - a friend or family member.
Thanks for your input. I am 79 years old. Things just do not come as easy for me as they used to. Just reading the specs and reviews of new computers wear me out. I have searched Costco, Best Buy, Office Depot and Amazon. I did not know that Computers no longer have hard drives. I have Office Pro on my current computer which came on a CD. Now computers do not have a way to load my CD’s.
What models of MSI laptops do you have?
On my seven year old Samsung laptop I have all my family pictures plus lots of Excel and Word files. I would not want to lose them.
Buying a new computer to me is like a shot in the dark. I may buy the wrong computer and have it not work properly.
But it appears that I need to something.
Specs given me were an i5 or i7 Intel processor, 8-16 Ram and 512 storage.
you should NEVER have the only copy of your important files on your computer - you should always have a copy on a backup device such as a flash drive or external hard drive or some sort of cloud backup service. and preferably more than one backup copy.
If you dont have a backup of your important files and are using an 7 year old computer - you are skating on thin ice!!!
This is URGENT - you should see that this is done asap (backing up your files) - even before you buy a new computer. Again - work with a trusted friend or family member who has knowledge of best practices.
if the mission provides a spec sheet - with the requirements for computer use - any brand that meets those criteria should be sufficient. Though I would buy a known, popular, respected brand with a good service plan.
I bought a MSI GE 76, 17 inch screen, i9 Intel processor, 16 ram, 1 T storage at Costco on sale.
I will focus on completing temple ordinances for my deceased relatives and indexing.
And I will try to answer questions on FamilySearch Community.
I read all of your comments several times Before making a decision.
Thanks again for your assistance.
so what will happen to your old laptop and the data that is on it.
Dont lose site of any important data that you need to transfer to the new computer and/or create backups of.
It is always so exciting to set up a new computer. Takes a while, to get everything the way you want it, but so satisfying to watch it process things so fast compared to the your older one! Enjoy your computer and your research!
@Family Bible Yes, I want to transfer many files to the new Laptop. Need to determine the Best way to do that. Any suggestions?