All through my idealistic youth, I swore this day would never come. Now, however, I find myself wearning horn-rimmed glasses, classic-fit essential chinos, and bison double-sole slippers.

I am also shopping for a Windows PC.

It’s not that I no longer love my trusty old Mac. I love it as much or more than ever.

It’s just that, for Web design purposes, nothing breaks a cascading style sheet like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, so that’s what I need to test against.

My question to you is this: What do you think would exemplify the stereotypical laptop PC?

I want a Windows laptop (an actual laptop, not a netbook with a teeny nine-inch screen), and I want it ASAP — costing as little as possible, of course.

I don’t want fancy video capabilities or a gigantic hard drive or any other bells and whistles, I just want the most typical Windows PC Web-browsing experience a red-blooded person can have. I want whatever the real America uses. Apparently, I have been spoiled by font smoothing and proper rendering. No more. I thirst to witness the jagged edges and clunky interface and faulty positioning firsthand.

All I have ever known is buying Apple computers. This will be my very first Windows machine, so I need your help, PC users. Do regular people use Windows Vista, or have they stayed with XP? Is there one brand that is more quintessentially PC (and maybe less likely to die on me) than the others? Is there somewhere to go online to get a great deal on an ultra-ordinary laptop?

I should make it clear that I am not looking to buy anyone’s used PC. I want something with a warranty — something that can be returned if it’s defective.

Please leave your advice below — or contact me directly.

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