Mushroo's crazy advice: Keep your old Dell Vostro at home, on your desk. From now on, you'll only be using it for occasional light duty. If it has hardware/software problems, maybe one of us can give you advice for a low/no cost solution to keep it running? Make sure you have good backups (I recommend two copies of your most important documents, for example to a USB drive and in the "cloud"). Take your $400 and spend $150-200 on a popular-model Chromebook with good reviews. The chromebook will go to school with you as your everyday computer. Chromebooks are perfect for email, note-taking, web research, paper writing, video watching, and certain kinds of games. Because your documents will be "in the cloud" they will be automatically backed up and synched between your devices. So you won't even need to take the chromebook out of your backpack when you get home at night; you can turn on your Vostro and continue typing the research paper where you left off. Put the remaining $200-250 in savings. Get in the habit of adding a regular amount to the fund each week. Someday when your Dell Vostro eventually craps out for good, buy the best Windows laptop you can afford. For example, if you add $10 to the fund each week, and the Vostro makes it through the school year, then by next summer, you will have $600 in the fund. If you managed to save $20/week, you'll have over $1,000! This will give you plenty of time to research and find a good bargain. I got some really knowledgeable laptop buying advice from the linked forum. I was looking for a highly portable campus/backpack computer, and my budget was $750. My must-haves were a 13" screen, good battery life, and a solid state drive (SSD). I filled out the questionnaire and the experts on that forum steered me toward a refurbished XPS 13 from the Dell Outlet store. Your needs might be a little difference than mine, but I share the personal anecdote for what it's worth. If you follow this genius plan, then a year from now (if not sooner) you will have the best of both worlds: a good chromebook, and a great windows laptop. You might even find that the chromebook fits all your needs, and the money you would have spent on the windows laptop can be used for other purposes.