5 Ways to modernise your old computer

As with many things, computers age. The trouble is when it starts to slow down. In this article, I will explain what components you can easily upgrade to modernise your PC.

Here are 5 ways to modernise your PC…

Please be aware…

This material is an indication on how you might go about upgrading your computer. I am NOT responsible for any damage caused to your device. If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these tasks take your device to a computer repair shop.

If you are comfortable, Remember to back up your data and files!

1. Upgrade your storage device

Hard drive upgrade

Many new PC’s come with Solid State Drives (SSD’s) instead of Hard Disk Drives (HDD’s). Picture a turntable, you have a spinning record and a handle that reads the data, essentially that’s what a hard drive is and when it starts to get full it will write data where ever it can find space. This will slow down performance because the handle will need to travel further to read data. SSD’s don’t have a spinning disk, it’s literally a chip, making it a lot faster. This is why I recommend upgrading your HDD to an SSD. If you have the space, you can even keep your current hard drive as a secondary storage device.

So how do you go about upgrading your storage device?

Before upgrading your storage device back up your data!

Well, to start with you need to purchase the SSD. There are many great SSD’s on the market. Here’s an example of a good bargain SSD that I use in my rig…

In terms of storage space, I don’t recommend anything below 240 GB simply because Windows tends to use up quite a lot of storage space, not forgetting applications and temp files before you know it your SSD will be full.

I have used 120 GB SSD’s as my main storage device and from experience, I will tell you that it’s simply not enough and you need a secondary storage device. It took a week to get full of program and temp files.

On the other hand if you are planning to put in a second storage device like your old hard drives, you can store your file directory and some program files on that drive, just don’t expect the performance of a SSD.

You will need…

  • The new storage device
  • A copy of the installation media for your system

Here is a great guide by Michael Crider from How-To Geek on how to peform the upgrade:

2. Upgrade your RAM

RAM Upgrade

As software evolves over time it becomes more resource hungry, in most cases it means that it requires more RAM to function properly. For example, about 10 years ago, 2 GB of RAM was considered average and 4 GB was amazing. In today’s standards, 2 GB will give you low performance, the computer will only be good for browsing the internet on Edge or Internet Explorer. There are Windows 10 Ultrabooks that come with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage space, I had one myself and from experience I will tell you that it was great to use as a note taking device with OneNote, but browsers like Chrome would struggle – a lot, that’s not speaking for all devices of a similar spec. By today’s standards, 8 GB seems to be the average.

How do you go about upgrading your RAM?

RAM upgrades can be tricky because you need to make sure the RAM is compatible with your system. CPU-Z is a great tool which will give you an indication of what type of RAM you might need.

Here is a great article by Thomas Ryan from PCWorld explaining how to go about upgrading your RAM

3. Upgrade your Operating System

Over time new operating systems come into existence meaning that many software manufacturers/developers will be aiming at the newer systems. A great example of this is Windows XP, there are still many computers out in the wild running on Windows XP, which if they are not connected to the internet shouldn’t be an issue but the trouble is that not many of the mainstream apps work on thy system anymore. Speaking about Windows XP, I am shocked to see that many companies still use Windows XP! Just the other day I went into a takeaway and I was looking at the menu screen which was a standard computer monitor and before my eyes, I saw it reboot and the Windows XP logo appeared – in 2019!

Have you experienced Widows XP or even Vista in the wild recently? Let us know in the comments!

Regardless Windows XP “was” a great system, I learned on it back in the day so to me it will always have a special place in my heart. Enough sobbing though. This article is about upgrading your PC!

I will be specifically writing about Windows machines. Before you even consider upgrading your operating system, make sure you have a back up of your files! I can’t stress this enough! To upgrade your operating system you will need the installation media and a license.

Here is a great article by Ed Bott from ZDNet explaining how to install and upgrade Windows.

4. Upgrade your graphics card

Graphics Card

If you’re a gamer, you might want to upgrade your graphics card (GPU) to a newer model so that you can play the latest games. There might be other reasons too. I remember that back in the day, I had to purchase a basic GPU so that videos, basic games and the Windows 7 Aero theme worked. This was on my ancient Dell Optiplex GX280 which was running on 2 GB RAM, Intel Pentium 4 and originally on Windows XP but That’s another story!

Here is a great guide by Ollie Green from Help Desk Geek on how to install your new graphics card.

5. Update your case

This can be a more difficult one but if the style is important to you why don’t you upgrade your case! Just make sure that you put enough research into your computer model and the cases available on the market. I have come across many computers, specifically slim lined ones that have custom sized motherboards and components.

5 Ways to back up your data

Backing up your data is important as you never know when your device might go wrong. Here are 5 recommended ways to back up your data…

1. Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is one of the most popular back up solutions. With cloud storage, you don’t have to worry about losing your device or it becoming corrupt. Cloud storage providers usually take great care in making sure that your data is backed up. For example, if one of their servers fails you wouldn’t even know about it.

Advantages:Disadvantages:
Data is secured in a secure locationLimited free storage space
Data is accessible from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet You need access to the internet unless your files are stored locally too.
Data SecurityThe site might close meaning you will have to download all your data
Auto back up (Not all providers have this option, you may need to enable it)

2. Portable hard drives

One of the most common methods of backing up your data is to save it to an external or portable hard drive. There are many benefits of using portable hard drives such as speedy file transfer, especially compared to cloud storage.

Advantages:Disadvantages:
Fast data transfer Hard drives can fail resulting in data loss. I always recommend backing up your external hard drives to another drive
Easy to use Portable hard drives can be expensive

Here’s a cheap way to make your own external drive:

3. Burn it to a DVD

This is quiet an old solution but it still works providing you have a CD/DVD burner and a lot of physical storage space for storing your CD’s.

Advantages:Disadvantages:
It’s a good secondary storage location Blank CD’s/DVD’s only have a small amount of storage space.
Smaller failure risks Time-consuming
Many new laptops and desktops aren’t equipped with CD/DVD burners
CD’s/DVD’s can easily get damaged causing file corruptions and data loss.

4. Use a NAS device

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage and it’s technically a server which you can either purchase or build. The huge advantage of owning a NAS server is that you can access your files from more than one device at the same time.

Advantages:Disadvantages:
You can back up more than one device at the same timeExpensive
Depending on the device, you can usually set up automatic backups. Hard drives can still fail

5. USB Sticks

USB Sticks are funny devices, they aren’t actually designed for data backups, instead, they are designed to transfer data from one PC to another. However, you can still use them as back up devices.

Advantages:Disadvantages:
Fast file transfer especially with USB 3.0Easily lost, unless encrypted it could mean that your data is compromised when lost.
Affordable, you can actually pick one up from as little as £3.50.Have a limited life, USB Sticks have a limited life span, meaning that when it loses it’s charge it can just die.

Ditched Windows 10 for Linux Mint – 1 Month on

There is a lot of talk about people ditching Windows for some variation of Linux but not many seem to have written a review of the switch after a month. In this article, I hope to help out my fellow noobs who are also considering to move to Linux Mint.

So why did I even consider the Switch?

To begin with, I was fed up of Windows being Windows. It was constantly updated at the most inconvenient times and the size of the operating system compared to Linux distributions. Linux Mint is also free and according to Lifewire “Linux Has Many More Free Applications”.

Linux is also considered to be safer compared to Windows. The Ubuntu website actually states “Anti-virus software does exist for Linux, but you probably don’t need to use it. Viruses that affect Linux are still very rare. Some argue that this is because Linux is not as widely used as other operating systems, so no one writes viruses for it. Others argue that Linux is intrinsically more secure, and security problems that viruses could make use off are fixed very quickly”. Like Ubuntu, Linux Mint has a huge and extremely helpful community which are always willing to help out.

But the main reason that I decided to switch to Linux Mint is the clean and professional interface.

Did I have any problems learning to use the system?

The simple answer is no. I have used Ubuntu many times in the past so I was familiar with Linux to begin with. I actually found Linux Mint easier to navigate compared to Ubuntu.

The Linux Mint Software Manager makes it easy to download the common apps and if the app isn’t listed a quick google search helped me install it within a few clicks. In terms of noticeable differences, the only difference I found apart from the interface were the fonts that programs used.

What about the software I used on Windows?

Yes, there were a couple of sacrifices but I managed to get up and running with alternatives fast. Here are some of the alternatives I used…

Windows:Linux:
Microsoft OfficeWPS Office and Office Online
Photoshop Gimp
OutlookThunderbird

The truth of the matter is that there are tons of alternatives for just about any task you can do in Windows – That’s what I found anyway.

It’s important to remember that there is a huge number of software distributors who distribute Linux versions of their programs. A great example is the web browser Firefox and text editor Brackets. Steam is also available! If you require a specific program which is available on Windows, Wine enables you to install it. But that’s a story for another day!

Is Linux Mint a keeper?

Yes, I would definitely say so! I feel more comfortable using Linux Mint compared to any other Linux distro’s I used. I have been testing another Debian based distro called Sparky Linux which I also like and will certainly review soon. But for now, especially as a beginner I will be keeping to Linux Mint.

Do you have any recommendations for new users? Comment below!

10 FREE Useful tools that every IT Tech needs

There are many great Free tools out there! In this article, I will summarise the tools that I think are worth using.

1. All in One – System Rescue Toolkit

All In One System Rescue ToolKit

The All in One – System Rescue Toolkit is a wonderful toolkit packed with a Live CD and a Windows executable. The toolkit includes various useful tools such as Boot repair, antivirus and data recovery.

Check out Paul’s website for more information: https://paul.is-a-geek.org/aio-srt/

2. Ninite – Install all your programs at once!

Ninite

Yes, you read correctly! Ninite is a great tool that not only saves you time but also the hassle of having to search the web for programs.

Check out their website: https://ninite.com/

3. Driver Pack Solution

DriverPack Solution

Have you ever found yourself searching for drivers for hours? I know I have! Driver Pack Solution is a great tool which finds and installs the drivers for you. Just be sure to make sure that you are installing only the things you want as it strangely adds other programs to your download list – all of which are useful.

Driver Pack Solution is available in three different versions including DriverPack Online which searches for the latest drivers, Driver Pack Offline (Network), this is an offline version packed with network drivers and the full offline version.

Driver Pack Solution is available here: https://drp.su/en

4. Active Kill Disk

Active Kill Disk Bootable

If you are planning to recycle your hard drive Active Kill Disk is a great tool which wipes the hard drive.

Active Kill Disk is available here: https://killdisk.com/eraser.html

5. Ubuntu

Ubuntu Desktop in Trial Mode

Yes, I know Ubuntu is an Operating System, but actually, if you boot it in trial mode you will find many useful tools such as GParted which is a partition editor and Power Statistics.

Ubuntu is available at: https://www.ubuntu.com/

6. Win Dir Stat

WinDirStat

Do you ever wonder what is using up all the storage space on your computer? Win Dir Stat will show you just that! According to their website, “WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for various versions of Microsoft Windows”. The main feature that I like is the graph that shows disk usage.

Win Dir Stat is available on this website: https://windirstat.net/

7. BitDefender Rescue Disk

BitDefender Rescue Disk

There are so many of these available and I tried most but I like the BitDefender most, hence the reason I’m recommending it. Like many, the BitDefender Rescue Disk runs a scan outside of Windows increasing the chance of detection.

The Bit-defender Rescue disk can be found on their website.

8. Portable Apps

Portable Apps Platform

Installing and uninstalling apps frequently can be a tiring task. There are various great utilities such as Wise Data Recovery that can simply be run of a flash drive. I have been using the Portable Apps platform since the days of Windows XP and it has never let me down. I highly recommend it! Just to make things clear, Portable Apps doesn’t only feature utilities but many other great apps and even games!

Find out more on their website!

9. WiFi Analyzer

WiFi Analyser

WiFi Analyzer is a great tool which can assist you with your WiFi. It shows the Wi-Fi channels around you which in return helps you to find a less crowded channel for your router. WiFi analyser also enables you to find the best area for your WiFi. Unfortunately, WiFi Analyzer is only available for Android which is bad news for people like me who use iPhones.

I haven’t been able to find an IOS alternative but if you know of one, Please let me know in the comments!

The app is available to download from the Google Play Store, at this link.

10. Virtual Box

Virtual Box enables you to run a separate system within the system you are running. It’s a great tool if you want to test out new programs or even new systems because the changes you make inside of Virtual Box shouldn’t affect your running system.

Do you know of any other useful tools? Let me know in the comments!

How to utilise old hard drives and SSD’s

Whether you are throwing your old computer away or have spare hard disks lying about, this article will hopefully give you an idea of what can be done with a hard drive.

It’s never a good idea to throw your computer away with your hard drive inside. This is because it will have personal data which can be stolen from the hard drive. If you are considering to throw away your hard drive please destroy it first! You can either physically destroy it or use a tool such as Active Kill Disk, otherwise, you can utilise it…

A hard disk is a device that you can store data on, so why not use it to store data even though it’s not inside of your PC? You can get a nice caddy which will convert into a portable hard drive. They cost pennies!

A portable hard drive can be used for many things such as creating a file archive, it can be a backup solution, if your TV is compatible you can record to it, you can store photos, videos, the list goes on! There are endless possibilities.

Spare Desktop Hard Drive?

If you have a spare hard drive from a desktop PC, you could use it for a number of things such as an external desktop drive or you can put it into a NAS enclosure.

External Desktop Hard Drive

Dynamode 3.5 inch enclosure

An external desktop hard drive can be used for many things such as regular backups or to extend the storage space inside your PC.

NAS Enclosure

D-Link ShareCenter 320L 2 Bay Nas enclosure

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. NAS enclosures are a perfect solution for a busy household which uses more than one device. Due to the fact that they are on the network, you can connect more than one device at the same time.

Laptop Hard Drive or SSD?

Not a problem! It is possible to purchase smaller enclosures to fit 2.5″ drives.

Dynamode 2.5″ USB 3.0 SATA Hard Drive Enclosure

The smaller drives are ideal for travel, and you can either put in a Solid State Drive or a Hard Drive.

What if I have a M2 SSD?

You can still purchase an enclosure. There are actually some clever enclosures out there, some of which will let you convert the drive to a USB drive like the one below.

Aplic SSD Case for M.2 hard drives with sliding mechanism

Do you have any other ideas? Comment below!

Tips on making an old PC last longer

If you have an old PC or are thinking of buying an older second-hand PC, You are in the right place because in this article, I will give you advice on how to make that PC last longer.

This guide is for computers with modern operating systems such as Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. It should work with older systems but I don’t recommend it because they are no longer supported by security updates.

So without further ado, here are 8 things you can do to keep your old computer running longer…

Please note!

I am not responsible for any damage caused by conducting these tasks, they are here as a reference only. If you are not confident doing these tasks please take your PC to a local repair shop!

1. Uninstall any programs you no longer use

Installed programs use up space on your hard drive and can run in the background using up RAM. Getting rid of them is a great start. The default Windows Uninstaller doesn’t always clean up everything the program has left. I, therefore, recommend something like Revo Uninstaller, which is a free utility that has advanced cleaning features.

Tip!

If you are unsure of what a program or file is, Google it. Uninstalling the wrong program can make your system unstable.

2. Clean your drive

No, I don’t mean taking your drive out of your computer and cleaning it physically, I mean cleaning it of any useless junk, such as temporary files. Windows has a built-in utility to do this known as Disk Clean-up which does a good job, but if you prefer something better, I would recommend Wise Disk Cleaner or CCleaner which are free and do an excellent job.

Tip!

If you are unsure of what a file is Google it first!

3. Defragment your hard drive

To begin with, it’s important to determine whether you are using a Hard Drive or a Solid State Drive which doesn’t need to be Defragmented.

The main difference between a Hard Drive and a Solid State Drive is that a Hard Drive is like a record player, it has a spinning disk and an arm that reads data. When the drive starts getting full it will write data wherever it finds space, meaning the arm will take longer to read data. Defragmenting your hard drive will fix this.

A Solid State Drive doesn’t have a spinning disk, it’s technically a chip. For this reason Solid State Drives or SSD’s are a lot faster and don’t need to be defragmented.

Windows has a tool called Defragment and Optimise Drives.

4. Disable startup items

Some programs are automatically set to start when you log in. You can save time by disabling these items. But be sure o only disable the items that you don’t use. Google is a great tool for checking what an item does.

In Windows 8.1 and 10, you can access your start-up items by pressing CTRL ALT DELETE, selecting Task manager and selecting Start-up from the bar. In Windows 7 or below search for “msconfig“.

5. Upgrade your Hard Drive to an SSD

As mentioned before Solid State Drives run faster. It will be criminal not to upgrade your Hard Drive to an SSD. But before you start…

Warning!

Your Hard Drive stores all data including your Operating System. You will need to transfer all of it when you upgrade to an SSD. You can either clone your Hard Drive using something like CloneZilla or reinstall everything manually. If you don’t feel confident doing this take your PC to a local repair shop.

6. Clean your PC

Over time, Dust gets inside your PC and clogs up the fans etc. Doing this will not speed up your PC, but it certainly should make it last longer.

This guide by Patrick Bisch from How-TO Geek shows a good way to clean your computer.

7. Upgrade your RAM

RAM or Memory is what allows you to run programs, without it you simply can’t run anything. It’s simple the more RAM you have the more programs you will be able to run without your computer slowing down. Not forgetting the fact that you should be able to run more demanding programs too.

Tip!

It’s important to check whether the RAM you plan to purchase is compatible with your Motherboard.

8. Upgrade to a less demanding Operating System.

This tip is great if you have an outdated system such as Windows Vista or XP. There are many free wonderful Linux Operating Systems opt there such as Linux Mint or Ubuntu that are not as demanding as a modern version of Windows.

Check out my Guide to installing Ubuntu:

New Video: Dell Optiplex 380 – Restoration

There’s so much you can do with an old PC, I turned mine into a Linux learning machine running Linux Mint!

Upgraded parts

Before I installed Linux Mint, I decided to upgrade some of the components to make it run smoother. The Dell Optiplex 380 came to me with Windows XP installed, but it actually has a Windows 7 licence sticker. Unfortunately, this particular processor will not run Windows 10, but I decided that it will be a great PC to learn Linux on without the need of dual booting or using virtual box.

Ram

It came with 2 GB of RAM which I upgraded to 4 because that is what I had to hand.

Storage

The computer came with a 80 GB hard drive. 80GB it a very small amount of storage space. Linux mint shouldn’t have a big issue with it but I decided that it will be best to put an SSD in there.

Check out:

In the past, I have made a video about installing Windows 10 onto the Dell Optiplex GX280. The problem was that the processor an Intel Pentium 4 did not support essential features. I overcame the issue by doing some upgrades.

10 Reasons to use Ubuntu

Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions. Here are 10 reasons why you should use Ubuntu.

1. It’s Free!

Yes, It’s Free. Ubuntu is based on Debian Linux which is also free. One of the biggest advantages of Ubuntu is the fact that you don’t need to buy programs and pay for program subscriptions. There are free alternatives for most paid programs. For example, Libre Office, which comes pre-installed, offers a Word Processor, Spreadsheets, Presentation and more.

Ubuntu is also free to download from their website. All you need a storage device such as a flash drive to install it from.

2. It’s user-friendly

If you are new to Linux systems, Ubuntu is a great starting point. In fact, you don’t need to know how to code to use it. The interface is modern and stylish giving a clean feel.

3. Huge community

Ubuntu has a huge community which is usually willing to help you. So if you get stuck with something, just google the issue, there’s bound to be a solution. If not ask on the forums.

4. Loads of flavours available

Sounds tasty right? Ubuntu flavours are versions of Ubuntu, they usually have a different interface. A great flavour to check out is Lubuntu. There’s bound to be one to suit you!

5. It’s secure

Ubuntu is very secure. You can’t say it’s 100% secure because nothing connected to the internet is. If you compare it to Windows which needs antivirus software, it’s more secure. There are tons of users that say “You don’t need an antivirus program on Ubuntu”. I would still recommend a basic scanner such as ClamTk which is a basic on-demand antivirus scanner. Just to be on the safe side, especially when transferring or sending files to Windows users.

6. Customization

Are you a fan of customization? Ubuntu certainly is! In fact, you can customize it as much as you want! if you don’t like how it looks, change it! Customize it to how you like it so that it meets your needs and requirements.

7. Good compatibility

Ubuntu runs very well with hardware. In fact, every time I tried to install Ubuntu on a PC, all the drivers were already there! Unlike in Windows where on some occasions I had to search the internet for hours to find a compatible driver that works properly.

8. Low system requirements

If you have a low-end PC and you find that it struggles to run Windows, Ubuntu is a great choice for a replacement. Not only does it use less storage space compared to Windows, but it’s also less demanding.

If you have an old PC hiding away in the attic you could give it a new life with one of the flavours or even Ubuntu itself. It depends on the specs of course, but if it’s compatible why not?

9. It constantly gets better

Ubuntu is well supported and new versions are released often. In fact, the theme has recently got an overhaul.

10. Loads of free software in the Software centre

You no longer have to search the internet to find programs. Ubuntu Software Centre is packed with loads of cool programs. It just makes life a lot easier for you, especially when you’re looking for a program by genre.

Are you convinced yet?

Check out the guide below to find out how to either test or install Ubuntu…

Also worth checking out…

Have you tried Ubuntu? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

So you purchased that new PC, but what next?

Nearly every household owns a computer of some form. In this article, I will focus on new PC’s and explain what is worth doing when you get that new PC home.

This article is an indication and you don’t have to do any of these tasks if you don’t want to.

So you purchased that new PC, there are several things which you can do to make your life easier, Read on to find out what you can do.

Check for updates

Microsoft constantly releases updates and when you purchase your PC, it’s very likely that there will be updates waiting to be installed. To save you the hassle of having to reboot your PC and wait for the updates to complete when you’re busy. The first thing I would do is check for updates.

Update your drivers

Like Windows Updates, Hardware manufacturers constantly release updates for hardware components. Updates help to fix any bugs, security issues and issues.

This article on Windows Central shows a guide on how you can check for driver updates Free! Available here…

Create a backup image

Computers can go wrong and they do go wrong. To save you that trip to the shop and on some occasions spend more money you could try to re-install Windows on your PC. The only trouble is that on some occasions some of your drivers may be missing and you will need to re-install all of your programs.

To stop this hassle, once you have installed all of your programs, you could create a backup image which you can use to restore data on your computer. Just be sure to create a separate boot disk.

Windows Central explains how this can be done in their article. Available here…

Check for any presents!

Yes, sometimes manufacturers give you presents! When I purchased my Lenovo laptop, I received an offer of 30 GB on DropBox and 3 months of McAfee Live Safe antivirus. Not to say, that I used the offer, but it’s a very good gesture. Please note that I can’t guarantee that the offer is available on all laptops and models.

Uninstall any useless bloatwear

Bloatware is bundled software that might come installed with your PC. Sometimes it can be a good thing such as a Cloud Storage deal or a utility that will help you manage your PC but most of the time it’s useless programs which you don’t need.

Remember if your not sure about uninstalling a program Google it to see what it is.

Choose the right antivirus for you

Protecting your PC from viruses is vital, with several solutions available it can make your selection confusing. What makes things worse, is the fact that there are several opinions on Antivirus software, which one is best, I’ve even seen people recommend against using Antivirus software. Yes, antivirus programs can slow your PC down but it’s for a good reason!

Free or paid?

That’s a question that everybody is asking. The way I tend to explain it to people is that if they are confident in knowing what to look out for while browsing the internet and how to determine whether your PC is infected without your antivirus program telling you it is. Free solutions such as Windows Defender will be sufficient.

If you prefer to have an extra helping hand looking out for you or if you’re not a 100% sure about the above, paid solutions usually offer security advisers and additional features which help you stay protected. Sometimes PC’s come with cool offers on bundled software including antivirus programs it’s worth checking them out too.

At the end of the day, in its bare bones, all antivirus programs do the same jobs. But when looking at either purchasing antivirus programs or downloading free alternatives it’s important to check the specs to see what features that program will give you.

Create a backup plan

Backing up your data is very important, your PC can go down with all data when you least expect it and in some occasions, it might even lead to data loss.

Having a backup copy of your files is essential! Personally, I recommend purchasing an external hard drive and putting all your files on it on at least a weekly basis. You can even get programs to do this for you.

The other solution is cloud storage. The huge advantage of cloud storage is that if disaster strikes, and for some reason both your computer and the external hard drive fails, your data will still be there. Cloud storage providers will do everything to keep you as a customer, whether you pay or not. They will have some form of recovery procedure so that if something goes down at their end your data will still be there.

Do you have any other ideas or suggestions? Leave a comment below!



A Guide to making an old PC usable again!

With Smartphones and tablets being the go-to devices these days, not many people are buying desktop computers other than for work. In this article, I will explain what can be done with an old computer…

This article is ideal for someone who doesn’t know what to do with an old computer or if someone wants to purchase a budget PC.

In this article we will primarily be looking at older hardware and PC’s.

But what if I don’t have one?

There are several places where you can buy second-hand computers, I purchased loads of them on eBay but it’s a wise choice to look on Gumtree, Facebook or even local computer repair shops.

What to look out for?

1. The OS the PC is designed for

The Operating system the computer was designed for is a good indication of the computers age. For example, if the computer has a Windows XP sticker in the front it would have been built between 2001 and 2008. PC’s of this age likely won’t run on Windows 10 but as can still be used.

2. The Specs

Let’s start with the processor. The more powerful the processor the more possibilities you have. I would definitely go for a 64 Bit on if available.

Older operating systems weren’t as demanding as the current ones are. 2 GB of RAM should be enough if you are running a classic OS. I would recommend a PC with at least 4 GB.

Storage space is important! The more of it the better. If once again you are looking for a older PC, don’t be surprised to find some with 20 GB of storage space or less! In reality the more storage space the better!

If you will be using the PC for Gaming, it’s a good idea to look for one with a dedicated graphics card.

3. The overall condition of the PC

This is more if you are purchasing one, it’s a good idea to look at the condition of the PC as you don’t want to purchase something that is destroyed.

5. Any extras?

When buying a PC, it’s a good idea to see what it comes with such as any peripherals or extra hardware components such as a WiFi card.

I have a PC what next?

If you already have a PC or if you have purchased one, you may be thinking what to do with it. To give you some inspiration, I purchased an old Windows XP NetBook to play some retro games on which can’t be played on Windows 10…

As you can tell from the video, I restored the laptop to its former glory.

On this occasion, I purchased a cheap second hand laptop, which came with the installation disk. I reinstalled Windows formatting the hard drive for security reasons and installed my programs onto it.

How can I make my PC better?

There are numerous ways in which you can improve a computer. I would start with upgrading the Hard Drive to a Solid State Drive (SSD). Compared to a standard hard drive which has a spinning disk, an SSD does not. This improves the speeds significantly. If the PC has a low amount of storage space, it’s also wise to upgrade the amount.

The next thing I would upgrade is the RAM. I would first research the compatibility with the motherboard and give it at least 4 GB of RAM.

If you plan to use your computer for Retro gaming, It might be wise to upgrade the graphics card. Just remember to purchase one of similar age to the PC.

So what else can I do with an old PC?

Check out the article below to gain some inspiration…

Do you have any other ideas on what you can re-use an old PC for? Let me know in the comments!