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Why Should I Buy a Desktop Instead of Laptop?

If you don't need a laptop's portability, a number of factors favor a desktop.

Better price-to-power ratio: You can buy a cheap laptop, and you can buy a cheap desktop, but a cheap desktop has the power of an expensive laptop.

Cheaper ownership costs: Because they are made from off-the-shelf components, desktops are cheaper to upgrade and to repair. They're less likely to need repairs, too. No one ever drove away after putting a desktop PC on the roof of their car and forgetting it was there.

Less likely to be stolen: Desktops don't disappear during a bathroom break in a café or a nap at the airport.

Ergonomically friendlier: You can't have good posture if your keyboard and your monitor are just inches apart, although you can get around this problem by plugging a full keyboard and a mouse into your laptop whenever practical.

On the other hand, laptops use less electricity, and you can take them places.

How Can I Get My PC to Boot at a Scheduled Time?

If you can arrange for your computer to boot at a scheduled time, you can shut it down at the end of the workday and then come back to a freshly booted PC the next morning--or even to a freshly booted PC that has just completed a virus scan.

Your PC's setup program may let you schedule a boot. To find out, start your computer and watch the screen. Before Windows loads, a message will tell you which key to press to enter Setup. Once the program has loaded, search its menus for an appropriately named option.

If the option isn't there, consider using Windows' Scheduled Tasks tool to establish a regular wake-up call for your system. This call will rouse your PC from hibernation or standby mode (called sleep in Vista), but not if the machine is fully shut down.

You'll find the Task Scheduler inside the Start menu's System Tools submenu; to get there, select All Programs, Accessories, System Tools. Creating a new task is easy and obvious. To make any task a wake-up task, check the Wake the computer to run this task option. In XP, that option resides in the Settings tab of the task's Properties dialog box. In Vista, it's on the Conditions tab. Scheduled Tasks won't work in XP unless you have a log-on password.

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