Walt Mossberg

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Buying a PC With an AMD Processor

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

If I buy a PC with an AMD processor instead of an Intel one, will I run into any compatibility issues with common software like Vista or Office 2007?

No, as long as the AMD processor, and/or its accompanying graphics and other chips, called a “chip set,” are rated as being able to handle the graphics in the version of Vista you are buying. Each chip company makes some low-end models that handle certain tasks more slowly than their mainstream or top-of-line models. And gamers are often particular about which chip sets they buy. But, in my experience, roughly comparable AMD and Intel processors and chip sets are equally compatible with common software like Office and Windows.

I have been using the Netscape Web browser for years. I am interested in shifting to using the Firefox browser. How do I transfer my extensive list of book marks from Netscape to Firefox?

Firefox will import your Netscape bookmarks automatically during the installation process, just as it can automatically import bookmarks from other browsers like Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.

Friends who use Macs tell me they have a removable backup device that backs up their entire hard drive, including programs. Is there something similar for PCs?

You appear to be referring to Time Capsule, which is an Apple hardware product that combines a hard disk and a wireless base station and is meant to work with the Mac’s built-in Time Machine automated backup feature. The answer is that there are many backup drives for Windows PCs, and that lots of them work with Macs as well. All the major hard-disk makers sell external hard disks that connect to a PC either directly, or over a network, and which come with relatively simple backup programs. Some of these programs will do complete, automated backups of everything on your PC, including applications. Even Apple’s Time Capsule can be used to back up files from Windows PCs, though it doesn’t come with Windows backup software, and setting it up for Windows is slightly trickier than doing so on a Mac.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox and my other columns online free at the All Things Digital Web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.

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