Resurrecting an Old PC

If your PC is running on fumes and you are considering replacing it, hold off until you try some of Tech2U’s tips for resurrecting your old PC.

One of the best things you can do to bring life into an older machine is to replace the operating system. With constant updates, your operating system can become bloated with unnecessary features aimed at higher end machines. CloudReady is a great operating system that will transform your machine into a Chromebook. The Chrome operating system is extremely lightweight, targeted at machines with lower end specs and is great for an older laptop. You can use any of Google’s proprietary applications and is specifically built to be used on the internet.

Linux is also an extremely popular operating system. With its lightweight and open source design, Linux can cater to any hardware configurations and runs perfectly on older machines. Linux comes in many different distributions, but Ubuntu, and Mint are popular distributions for beginners. PC World has a great articles on getting started with Linux that can be found here. Before you install a new operating system, always make sure to backup and data you might have and confirm the compatibility of your hardware with the operating system.

If you are set on upgrading your box, there are alternative uses for it besides throwing it in recycling. Re-purposing an older machine and using it as a network backup device is a popular route many people take. You can setup the system how ever you like, and even use it as a pseudo personal “server.” If your laptop has a camera on it, you can install the free program I Spy Connect that shows you how to use the webcam to monitor an area like a nanny cam. I Spy Connect also lets you setup sound and motion detection to give your nanny came all the bells and whistles of professional surveillance equipment.

There are lots of uses for your older machine and the sky is the limit of what you can create. If none of these solutions seems right for you than maybe it is time to bring the old box to the recycling center.

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Video Transcription:

Announcer: Before [SP] you regulate your old computer to the electronic’s recycler, Mike Wisby is here from Tech2U to share some new ways to breathe new life into an old PC, and it’s for free. So I think everybody’s interested in saving their stuff, especially if it can be done for free, so what’s the free advice?

Mike: So well first thing I would do before you do anything that I suggest today is that you back everything up.

Announcer: Back it up, okay.

Mike: Because you want a point to restore to if anything that I suggest is going to go wrong for you.

Announcer: Well nothing could go wrong. What could happen?

Mike: Well, what I’m going to suggest is that you remove Windows from an old machine. So that sounds pretty drastic but what you’re doing is you’re replacing it with a lighter weight operating system and you’ve got a couple of choices. You could use Neverware CloudReady which is a free operating system, call them OSs, and what that effectively does is it turns your laptop into a Chromebook.

Now, if you’re familiar with Chromebooks what it is, it’s a very stripped down operating system, and it just has a web browser and a few basic office suite programs. So you can do a bit of word processing, but mainly browsing the internet, streaming content, things like that. Another one is Linux, and that’s more advanced, but again, it’s very similar to Windows but Linux is free, and it has less of the bells and whistles that Windows does so-

Announcer: Okay, so will these be full use machines with limited, what’s the end result here?

Mike: So really, it depends what you start with. If you’re starting with a machine that has some faulty hardware or broken hardware, that’s not going to help. You’re going to have to replace that out and swap that out.

Announcer: Okay.

Mike: Get some replacement parts from or visit your local tech shop. Really, it’s going to be a full operating system once you have it installed.

Announcer: Okay. So any other ways to get the lions out of the problem here? To me, I would reboot, maybe spray something on the keyboard and I would say, “Yeah, I’ve done everything I can do.”

Mike: Well once you get rid of the big, bulky operating system like Windows, you’re left with a very streamlined system.

Announcer: Okay.

Mike: So that’s good. Some other ways to use an old laptop would be to, perhaps, add a webcam. You can get any cheap webcam now or you can get a nice one, depends what you want to do. But if you hook it up to an old machine and then use a program called iSpyConnect what that does, that will let you watch the stream of the webcam on a phone like an app on a phone or a machine. So it’s kind of like having one of those expensive baby monitors or a home monitoring system.

Announcer: Instead of recycling it.

Mike: Yeah.

Announcer: And you could give it to the kids too, right? That could be their first computer or everybody’s.

Mike: Yeah, exactly. You can remove anything you don’t want on it, just install only the basic things you may want a child to see. Then they could have their own little machine, and it’s perfectly good for them.

Announcer: I like that. Okay, you have an app of the week too Mike.

Mike: Yes. The app of the week this week is the Indeed Job Search. What that will let you do is search for jobs by keyword or in a specific area that you want to work in, and it will give you a lot of jobs. You can apply straight from your phone, which is really nice and you can forward your resume to potential jobs as well through there which is really nice. You can follow companies. If you really, really want to work somewhere, you can follow them and as soon as they post a job, it will send a push notification to your phone, so you can be the first person to apply.

Announcer: Wow, that’s all great advice. The Queen turns 90, you’re from Great Britain.

Mike: Yes.

Announcer: Anything planned in the Wisby household to– Fish and chips? What are we doing here?

Mike: We’ll have fish and chips and a nice spot of afternoon tea to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Announcer: A spot of afternoon tea! I couldn’t have asked for a better response. Mike Wisby, Tech2U. Thank you my friend. Appreciate it.

Mike: Thank you.

Announcer: Amy over to you.

Amy: Come on, we know he’s going to be having a beer with those fish and chips.

Announcer: Not just tea, a spot of tea.

Amy: A spot of tea. All right, well thank you so much.

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