When a friend's office was closing, I as able to get a laptop that was just sitting around. It had not been used for a couple of years. It started life with Vista, "downgraded" (or up graded as the case may be) to XP. It had 2 GB of RAM. I installed Win7. It ran but was a bit slow so I increased the RAM ro 4 GB and it was much happier. Then I did the downloaded upgrade to Win10, which worked fine. With that as some confidence, I did the same to my personal laptop, which was just aver a year old at the time. I use both laptops.
I still have two DELL lattitude D600s (XP). One is in the basement, used for testing an old printer and for checking out an analog oscilloscope that came my way.
To VoIP or POTS depends on your priority and circumstances. At work, I'll be moving from POTS to VoIP real soon now (and they're putting in some fancy equipment to handle VoIP) -- but I don't normally do long phone calls at work.
At home, POTS at $24/month (probably more now) for the cheapest phone service wasn't worth it, so I switched to VoIP, and have been happy with it. But, we actually have a POTS line since my current DSL service ($53/mont with taxes, reaches 18Mbps) comes with a POTS line, like it or not.
@Martin... "And there you have the difference between IT people and engineers...."
Yeah, the old throwaway society at work again. My PCs for the past few years have been made with cast-off motherboards from my mate at work, who has to have the latest and greatest (he's into games and porn). I get them for a fraction of what they cost him. And they work just fine for what I do (Word/Excel, downloading the odd datasheet, looking at EET, and occasionally catching up on TV I've missed (in which case my DSL speed is the main factor, if I do it early evening when everyone else is online, it's terrible). And my hoped for 8GB upgrade...well I ended up with 4GB as opposed to my old 2GB, for under $30...all good.
We are shortly to be getting NBN (National Broadband Network) which started out as fibre to the home but has been watered down by our current government (who'd rather use the money to subsidise coal mines) to fibre to the kerb (a box down the street) with our old copper as the last mile. It should still improve speed, but needs yet another box to go wrong (and they do, I'm already dealing with them at work) between me and the internet. Watch this space....
I would never give up my POTS line for two reasons: Reliability and Internet access. I have DSL, runs nicely at about 6.5 Mbits/s. My office phone is VoIP. It works pretty well, but has ups and down on long calls. Not so with a POTS line.
$40/month is too high in this case. Even $25/month for DSL might not have happened if it were available.
If you could find Freecell on Linux, maybe that would be an option. My kids are using our old Thinkpad T43 with 1.5G RAM, with Lubuntu and an upgraded (7200 RPM from 5400 RPM) hard drive, and are able to work pretty well.
Windows 10 does OK on my 2G RAM Asus T100TA Atom-powered 2-in-1.
For internet access, if data usage isn't high, wireless is one option, but will probably be at least $40/month. Another possibility to reduce overall costs is to look at bundling or VoIP. for example, instead of doing POTS + dialup, look at the cost increase for Cable + VoIP (e.g. Obi 200 with GV or Ooma), or cable + cable telephone service. You should be able to port the phone number. But then again, she might not to give up the good, old, but reliable telephone service.
@MeasurementBlues:Have you ever seen Win7 with 512MB? Trust me, you don't want to see how slow it is. So, I increased the memory to 4GB and it runs quite well. I used it for about a year as my wife's PC at home to get her used to Win7 and off XP, then we bought her a new Win7 PC for her office, then a Win10 PC (same HP hardware) for home. The upgraded old PC is in the closet, but it's a good backup if needed.
Every version of Windows wants more memory.
I was given an ancient (circa 2005) Fujitsu notebook by a friend who had upgraded but did't want to see the machine wind up in a dumpster. She said it was "Slow slow slow..." and was right.
It had a 787mhz Transmeta Crusoe CPU (an early attempt at power saving), and IDE 4 HD (a BIOS limitation), and a whopping 256MB RAM, of which the CPU took 16MB off the top for "code morphing".
It came to me with WinXP SP2 installed, and took 8 minutes to simply boot, and longer to do anything once up. XP wants 512MB RAM to even think about working, so that was no surprise. A daughtercard adding 128MB more RAM was still available, but would cost more than multiple GB of RAM for a current system, and still wouldn't bring it to something XP would work well in.
I swapped in a different HD from a failed laptop, repartitioned, and installed Win2K Pro SP4, a couple of flavors of Linux, and FreeDOS in a multi-boot configuration. All of those would run in 240MB RAM after tweaking. The result wasn't a speed demon, but was usable.
The current desktop is a refurb Dell small form factor unit. It came with 4GB RAM, a quad core 2.4 ghz Xeon CPU, a 240GB SATA HD, and Win7 Pro. I added a 240 GB SSD to be boot drive, and RAM to bring it to the 8GB max the mobo would take. It dual boots Windows and Ubuntu linux. Performance is fine.
I upgraded in place to Win10, which has been, um, "challenging". Two laptops here got the Win10 upgrade and Just Work, but the desktop has been "New and different Win10 BSODs. Collect the while set!" and I have been.
The user of the AMD PC was dissappointed with Win7 because Microsoft took away her Freecell Solitare game, replacing it with an online version. I managed to find an offline version and isntalled it. She's very happy because the online version wasn't an option with her dialup internet. The online game would cause her to tie up her phone line.
<blink> Win7 never did that here. Win10 did. The built-in games got replaced by online versions. That was understandable - as far as MS is concerned, the Enterprise is their core market, and Enterprise customers take dim views of stuff employees might use on their PCs instead of working. The games were originally included back in the Win3.X and earlier days as gentle introductions to GUIs and mice, and that hasn't been needed for a long time. I found a package someone created that removed the version checksin the Win7 games that prevented them from running on Win10 and packaged tham as an installer that let you pick which you wanted and put them on Win10, and they work fine. :-)
I looked into DSL but it's not avilable at her home, only cable or Verizon FiOS (around $70/month), neither if which she will pay for so she stays with her $10/month dialup.
If her needs are met by dial-up, more power to her. And DSL is an increasingly unlikely option. It requires copper to the doorstep, and you must be within a working distance of the telco central office where the DSLAM that enables DSL is installed. I had DSL back when as my original broadband because cable modem wasn't available where I am, but I lived in walking distance from a CO. When cable modem service was available, at three times the DSL bandwidth at the same price, I happily switched.
I'm sure my IT Guru's advice to you would be the same as he gave me - "Get a new computer"
And there you have the difference between IT people and engineers. IT people say, "get the latest technology" while engineers say "I can fix or upgrade the old one."
In the case described here, if it costs money, it's not worth doing.
If it were my PC, I would have kept looking for a solution, probably starting with updating the audio driver (setting a restore point before installing), but in the end, the upgrade won't help with download speed from a dialup, so no need.
It's time to take a walk to the post office to return the "incompatible" memory.
Martin...if your user is not unhappy and still only on dialup then I'd adopt the old saying..."If it ain't broke, don't fix it". If her biggest beef is losing Freecell, you're doing well... :-)
I just got a win 10 laptop. I hate win 10. it tries to be clever and if you hover too long over something, it assumes you want to open it. GRRRRR!! I guess there might be a setting somewhere where I can lengthen / disable this, but haven't found it yet. Fortunately I have had a Win 10 phone for a bit so that helped. Come back XP, all is forgiven.....