The need to upgrade to newer computers is an unavoidable part of the modern technological world. As systems age, they can become unreliable and unresponsible, unable to keep up with our new software and needs.
While inevitable, it’s also true that we tend to see a new computer as a complete replacement in all regards.
Instead, it is possible to restore some functionality to an aging machine, to keep it as a backup or an alternative. Keeping an older system around can also mitigate what the Geneva Environment Network notes as the growing problem of e-waste. You don’t have to be a computer wizard to pull this off either, as the process only takes a few simple steps.
What can an Older Restored PC Do?
Ultimately, this question will depend on the make of the system, when it was built, and how it’s been treated over time. If you’ve still been using it until recently, however, it should still hold a lot of potential waiting to be rediscovered.
The most obvious and common use for older systems could be as simple work tools. Word processing and database management don't require a lot of power, so using the PC in these ways is going to be the most reliable outcome. Since this kind of software can be linked to certain systems, using an older computer as your dedicated work device can be a great way to save money.
In terms of entertainment, any older computer can still integrate with some forms of cutting-edge entertainment. Betway live casino games like blackjack and roulette are advanced, but they also have low enough requirements to run well on any system. The same can be said for browsing online videos and using a computer as a movie machine for any of the top streaming services.
Video games could also be a good fit for older machines, as long as the games aren’t new releases. There are libraries of thousands of games available to play and emulate on even outdated systems, and getting these working from a website like Good Old Games is a simple and streamlined process.
Restoring your PC
The following steps are generally good practice for anyone, so we’ve included instructions on what each will accomplish, and how you can manage the task.
Cleaning the Case
Over time, computer cases will become clogged with dust and other nastiness, and this can harm system performance. PCs have what is called thermal throttling, where the computer will run in an underpowered state if it gets too hot, which cleaning can help.
To clean your system, purchase or find a can of compressed air, and take the case to an outdoor area. You'll want to remove the left side of the case, which is usually achieved by undoing a couple of large and obvious screws on the back. Simply blow out the case (while being careful not to spin the fans with the air too much), replace the side, and this step is done.
Maintaining the Storage Drive
As storage drives become filled with data, they become less efficient. They need space to move files around, and while this problem can be much worse with HDDs rather than SSDs, they all face this issue.
The first step here is to check what kind of drive you have. To do this, press the Windows key and the R key together to bring up the run box. Type in “dfrgui” without the quotation marks and press enter, and an optimize drives screen will tell you which you have under the “Media type” heading.
Next, we remove any programs from the system that you no longer use. In case you're not sure where the space is being used, drive space visualizer programs from Google searches can help you. Delete these files, make sure they're also deleted from the recycle bin, and SSD users are done.
If you’re using an HDD, you’ll also want to defragment the drive. This can be done from the optimize drive screen we accessed above. This can take some time for older HDDs, so you might want to leave the defrag on overnight.
Addressing Startup Programs
In a machine's lifespan, we can accidentally and on purpose install many programs on our computers that we don’t need, or that we forget about. If these start with the computer, they will increase load time, and can vastly hurt performance. Get rid of these, and you can cut boot time down dramatically.
To accomplish this, press the Windows key and the R key together to bring up the run box. Type “msconfig” without quotation marks and press enter. Navigate to the startup tab, and disable all the programs you don’t want starting with the computer. If you’re unsure what a program is, Google it first. Once this is done, you’re done!
It might seem too good to be true, but these three little steps can be all that an older PC needs to find a new lease on life. While it still might be worth looking into cheap upgrades and newer peripherals, even older parts can still function fine if you know how to handle them. Sure, no system will last forever, but for now, your old friend can still avoid the scrap heap.