Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Re-vitalize that Old PC

Image Credit: Flickr user Kodomut

Have you got an old computer at your place which is doing nothing but taking space in your room and collecting dust? This article is going to guide you towards putting that old computer to good use.

Before you take out that computer think whether you want to sell it/use it till it dies. I would recommend you use it since selling won’t get you a good price. If the computer is already in running condition you can easily get it to work the way you want it to in a couple of hours, else you might have to open that CPU to clear up problems.
Old computers usually have a Pentium IV or Celeron Processor, so, you probably won’t be able to run Windows 7 in it. Make sure that you have a copy of Windows XP with you before you sit down to get the computer working.


Upgrading certain aspects of hardware in your computer might help it give you a better performance, it might still be using SDRAM or DDR1 for its memory, and if that’s the case you can easily find some used memory modules with the computer guy. Try upgrading the memory as much as possible. If a suitable memory is not available anywhere consider eBoostr (The readyboost alternative for XP users).

Hard disk space is not going to contribute to increased performance, but a larger drive is always more comfortable – see if you can install an additional HDD along with the 40GB odd disk inside. If you have a newer computer where you store all you data, forget obtaining a new HDD.

Clean the CPU properly before you get started, there might be loose cables (I found one in my old PC), damaged buttons, etc. Take time to replace these small parts.

If you don’t have a monitor already consider getting a used LCD or a new LCD that’s smaller. Don’t go for CRTs since they consume more power.

Last, but not the least - Check the NIC (Network Interface Card), the last thing you would want is a computer without internet connectivity. If the onboard Ethernet doesn’t work, get an Ethernet card and install it on the PCI slot.


Now that you have made the computer usable, you will have to install software in it. The Windows 2000 or XP which is already in it might be slow due to years of installing/uninstalling, etc. Moreover, it will be full of outdated software which is capable of causing more trouble. I recommend you do a clean install of Windows XP or if your CPU can, Ubuntu. If you are going to use XP, make sure you install service pack 3. Now, get some apps to make the computer usable, you might want to check out our recommendations for this.

Got your computer running properly? Use it to leave us a comment below.

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