“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.

Edward A. Murphy, Jr.

A year ago, my then 3 year old HP Desktop decided to not come out of an update process. And when I decided to power it off, it punished me by not booting into Windows. Trying to repair Windows did not help, so I had to research how to create a bootable Flash drive. After I did that, I purchased an external hard drive, found an backup program and created a backup of all my files. Once this was done, I was able to perform a System Restore to take the computer back to its out of the box state. This was better than nothing but then I had to do a myriad of Windows Updates and reinstall A LOT of software. Finally, I copied all my data back over from the backup drive. So, this was basically an entire weekend of work.

A couple of weeks ago, this same desktop once more decided to not shutdown. Nor would it bootup. One Blue Screen of Death was displayed but garbled and after that, it did nothing but display the HP logo. Having saved “a few bucks” by purchasing a desktop with a spinning hard drive, I learned a valuable lesson. Don’t try and compensate for the lack of a Solid State hard drive (SSD) with a smaller caching SSD called Intel Optane memory. The 16gb Optane memory did function well; however, it apparently died, taking the 1TB hard drive with it. This is because they were somehow tethered in a RAID group.

So now, I have a $229 Mini Desktop PC, which happily performs as well for less money.

The BeeLink U59 Mini PC, retail $289, purchased for $229.

And it came with Windows 11 Pro.

Windows 11 with its fancy Start / Search Menu

But, I don’t care for the lack of organizational abilities in the “new and improved” Start Menu. So, I found two programs to compensate for that.

Start Everywhere menu can augment or replace the Windows Start Menu
ExecPad Basic allows one to create groups of tabs filled with program shortcuts, which I kind of like.

All in all, the system works quite well. It came with 16gb RAM, 500gb SSD storage, 4 USB 3 ports, 2 HDMI video ports, a USB-C port and an Audio port. I added a second internal SSD drive and an external SSD drive (pictured). So, I have no excuses to not keep everything backed up for when this PC also bites the dust. 👌😏

By Michael Todd

An IT Professional with over 30 years of experience with PC setup & troubleshooting, programming, consulting and the use of the most popular business applications. This is all about making the technology do the most for you, so you have more time to enjoy life.

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