Thanks to Windows 7, a lot of people have purchased new computers or are
planning to. And that leaves them with one of life’s more pleasant problems:
what to do with the old machine.
With prices for used computers so low, reselling an older PC is often more
trouble than its worth, and you can actually get more value out of your old
machine by keeping it and using it for another purpose. Here are some ideas to
get you started.
- Data Backup Machine: If your old computer is a desktop with a
decent amount of storage or the capability to hold more storage (hard
drives) than it currently has, it’s a good candidate for duty as a Windows
Buy an OEM copy of Windows Home Server on a site like Newegg, install it on
your old machine, hook the computer up to your in-home network, and you’ll
never again have to be embarrassed when someone asks you whether you back up
your data. The answer will be ‘yes, every night.’
- Test Bed: How many times have you installed an application –
only to regret it later when it causes your computer to become slower or,
even worse, to crash?
Put your old computer to use as a ‘test‘ machine, and you can say
goodbye to nightmare installations of new software. Install them first on
the old machine and see how they work, then you can decide to install them
on your main machine or to just forget the whole affair.
- Test another Flavor: Windows isn’t the only operating system out
there. In fact, many would argue that a lot of the action these days is in OpenSource
Operating Systems. What better way to test all of this out than on an
The Ubuntu operating system (http://www.ubuntu.com/GetUbuntu/download) is
the hands-down favourite among those who want to get their first exposure to
Linux- based computing.
Ubuntu is easy to install, as it recognises plenty of hardware
automatically, just as Windows does. Once installed, you’ll feel pretty much
at home if you’re familiar with Windows, since Ubuntu follows many of the
interface conventions to which Windows users are accustomed.
- Gaming Zone: If you’re into computer games, you already know that multi-player
action is where the fun begins. But without multiple computers in your
house, there’s no multi-player action. A spare computer clears up that
If you’re not a gamer but you’ve always wondered how much fun it would be to
play multiplayer games (lots), then put that old machine to work on your
game of choice.
- Dismantle It: When you hear people talk about hard drives,
memory, video cards, or motherboards, do you secretly want to run away? Lose
the fear by taking your old PC apart and seeing what’s in it. A Philips-head
screwdriver is pretty much the only tool you’ll need.
Find a tutorial online that helps you identify the parts you see
inside of your computer, and you’ll no longer be at a loss to understand how
hard drives, graphics cards, memory, and other components are attached.
Plus, when you need to replace or upgrade one of these parts in the future,
you’ll have a clue about how to do it yourself.
- Donate It: Your old computer might not be up to the
task of running Windows 7, but there are people who won’t care and will be
happy to take it.
Start by surveying members of your family. If your old computer is a
notebook, chances are good that someone in your clan will love it, even if
Windows XP Home is the only thing it can run with any degree of success.
If your old computer is a desktop, perhaps a member of your family who needs
a computer primarily to surf the web or play the occasional game of
solitaire will be just thrilled to have it. Check around. It’s probably
worth more in good feelings of being generous than any resale would be.
It’s always a “Win-Win” situation for you. So don’t panic,