|Recycled PC: Old Computers with a New Purpose|
|Articles - Featured Guides|
|Written by Mat Thompson - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 05 June 2009|
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Repurposed: Secondary Computer
This may seem obvious, but the best way to recycle an older computer is to clean it up and place it elsewhere. Secondary computers are great for all sorts of tasks within the household, be it for children, guests or even for the other people living in your home. Hand-me-downs are a great way to maintain utility of many objects as well as maintaining thrift. By placing the computer in a secondary role you can save yourself money down the line when it comes to multiple computers in a household.
If you're the type of person that uses your computer until it breaks, you may be able to salvage the computer with the replacement of one or two parts. The internal components within a computer tend to be pretty hardy, but the mechanical parts have a greater tendency to fail, including fans, hard drives and optical drives. HDDs and optical drives are cheap to replace, but memory may be more difficult or costly to replace. Keep on the lookout for people selling used parts of old computers for cheap.
Many old computers were shipped with OEM versions of old operating systems, like Windows 98 or ME. It's not recommended that you stick with these old operating systems because they're outdated, unsupported, unstable and easy to infect with viruses and trojans. Many tasks which are very easy to accomplish on newer operating systems, such as joining a network or installing new hardware can be very difficult. Finally, compatibility with basic hardware standards, like USB 2.0, can be very difficult. If the old computer came with Windows 2000 or XP, you're more than likely all set for use, but older computers, require different measures. Linux is becoming easier and easier to use and many different light-weight variations of Linux are available for download and installation for free. The most popular version of Linux at the moment, Ubuntu, has a lightweight version released called Xubuntu, based off of the XFCE GUI platform. Other distributions to considering include Puppy Linux, Knoppix and Mint Linux. Through free and open-source software (FOSS) you can install many programs that make you just as productive as on a Windows platform.