Speeding up an old computer

We all have them, a garage or loft full of obsolete computer parts. Computers like mobile phones have a lot of personal files and private documents stored on them. We feel loathed at the idea disposing of the old computer that served you so well for a number of years.

Technological obsolescence is a scourge on 21st-century living. It’s not a society that needs but it’s a society that wants. Technology is exciting and been part of the next best thing is seen as keeping on top of things. As soon as we sit back with the quill pen we feel we will stand still and not be included in conversations. We feel socially isolated.

I taught people who really didn’t want a computer but felt that the assumption was that everyone has a computer or tablet. The knock on effect of this is that the elderly get penalised as they do not receive the discounts that us the IT literate people take for granted. Shopping means transport costs, a share of high street rates, heating and all the costs that go with trading on the high street. We all love the high street and don’t want to lose it but feel its everyone else’s job to save it. I controversially am a strong believer in the high street must support its customers changing shopping habits. As a retailer for over 12 years, I know the problems of competing with change. Newcomers to the computer market can take advantage of human excess and with a bit of lateral thinking can make perfect use of old computer equipment whose only foible is being too slow. Let’s be honest these old computers will be someone else’s problem, most likely in a far off shore.

So what is the answer? Do you own an old PC? Maybe you have friends and family that can donate an old PC to a newcomer or an elderly neighbour.

If the reason for putting an old computer to one side is because it is running slow then why not consider giving it a new life by making the best value for money upgrades.

Memory Upgrades

Firstly doubling the memory in that old computer will provide a huge boost to a tiring old computer. RAM, as it is known is extremely cheap and comes in the shape of a card that is plugged into a memory slot. The hardest part of the upgrade will be working out where the memory lives. I have included a video which should help to install memory in a tower desktop.

For all you Laptop owners here’s one for you.

A Clean Install

If this does not provide the speed you desire in the old girl then why not reinstall windows to its original state. This sounds like a task for an IT wizard? Not really most computers came with the recovery software stored in a safe location on part of the hard drive.

Starting up your computer will, in most cases reveal a manufacturers folder under programs, in here lurks diagnostic tools and recovery tools that will completely recover your computer back to the time when you purchased it. It will be clean of viruses and malware and bloatware that we install over the years of ownership. It will return back to its former self. Great News. What if you do not have a recovery option well all is not lost there either.

Finally Fancy a change?


Our friends at Linux developed a completely free version of an operating system that is very sleek and fast, it resembles windows in the way it operates and comes built in with all the applications that you may know. Open office a full office suite similar to Microsoft office, photo editing with Gimp. Mozilla Firefox for browsing the Internet and thunderbird for viewing email like outlook. This product is free to download and use and is very easy to change to. Just visit Ubuntu and click the download link. You will require a USB memory pen or writable cd to allow it to copy the files to. The cd will be more compatible with older computers, these can be purchased at the local supermarket. Once downloaded you can use the software that came with your cd writer to open the file and it will create a disk that you can put in the old PC.

At this stage, you need to turn off the old PC and restart with the Cd in the drive. You will either be given an option to boot from cd, which is the option you want or alternatively it will just load into the old windows as normal and do nothing. This is because it was not told to look at the cd drive first, this can usually be overcome by looking for a boot option F key when you turn it on. It would look similar to “boot options F12”. When you press the key it will present you with options to select another boot device. You need to either select the CD or the Memory pen whichever you have used. Press enter and your computer will look at the new files and will present you with options of how to start. These options will include run from CD, to install with the current Windows or to replace the current windows installation.

At this point you know you have backed up all your data that you may want to keep then proceed to replace the current installation. This will clear your computer hard drive of ALL files and replace Windows with Ubuntu. The process may require you to make other choices, but eventually you will have a computer that runs very fast and will be great for doing almost all the mainstream tasks with very little knowledge.

I have included a short Ubuntu Video above. Feel free to watch this. There are many videos on Youtube to help you make use of old Computer Hardware. Happy Recycling.


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