This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy thru these links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Throwing an old computer away or allowing it to sit somewhere unused is a waste.
If you know a friend or relative who can’t afford a new computer, your old one could be just what they need — so you could give it away. (I’ve done that before.)
You could also set it in the kitchen and use it as a spare — either for recipes or to find quick answers to random questions online. (I’ve done that too.)
But if you’re wanting to breathe new life into an old computer and use it for watching movies, playing games, or as your child’s first computer — here’s what’s most important:
- How much you can improve the computer’s RAM?
- How can you utilize the built-in tools in your computer’s operating system?
Generally speaking, a computer with 512 megabytes of RAM is quite capable of streaming videos on the Internet, running games, and running many programs.
Obviously, there are some programs and games out there that won’t work, but as long as your old computer can do the basics, you’re in business!
Here are 3 things you can do to make an old computer usable again:
- Maintain the System
Regular maintenance is recommended for any computer if you want it to perform at its best.
For an older machine it’s essential!
Newer computers are equipped with the processing power to handle a backlog of unneeded files, but your old computer probably can’t.
If you or someone else is planning to use the old computer often, then you should defragment the system at least once per week.
To make this easier to do on a routine schedule, you could install an all-in-one computer clean-up application. These types of programs do all the hard work for you and include everything you need to maintain a healthy system on an old computer.
- Upgrade the RAM
By opening up your old computer and checking out how much random access memory (frequently referred to as RAM) it has, you can get a better idea of how you can improve it.
Let’s say it has 2 RAM slots — both containing a 128 megabyte card. If you’re willing to spend around $20, you could easily replace those RAM cards with 256 or 512 MB RAM cards for a lot more memory.
The trouble with computers older than 10 years is that many of them were considered obsolete when newer models of RAM cards were being introduced — so having a machine that can handle that much RAM might be a long shot.
- Overclock the CPU
You can enhance your old computer’s processing power by carrying out a few tweaks — like overclocking the CPU (central processing unit).
Simply put, overclocking means setting your CPU and memory to run at speeds higher than their official speed grade.– Source
If your computer has anything above a 1.8 gigahertz processor, then there really isn’t any need to overclock it. However, for weaker computers overclocking the CPU can be beneficial.
There is a certain amount of risk when attempting to overclock a computer — because motherboards can be very fragile. If you overclock it too much, you could end up frying it.
It’s not recommended that you do this alone, if you’re unsure how to do it. But if you know anyone with technical knowledge, then they should be able to overclock the CPU for you.
By applying all or some of these methods, your old computer won’t be an equal match with newer computers in terms of processing speed, but your refurbished computer will be able to keep up with most computer tasks.
It will definitely serve you well as a secondary machine or a backup computer.
So what are you waiting for? Jump in and try it out. You might be surprised at the results!
More Tips For An Old Computer
- Creative Uses For Old Computers
- How To Sell Your Old Computer
- How To Turn An Old Laptop Into A Digital Photo Frame
- How To Upgrade Your PC’s Memory
- Determining How Much RAM Needed To Run Games
- How To Reuse Parts From Your Old Computer
I got my first computer in 1986 and immediately started writing, saving documents, and organizing my entire life on it. Thus began my love affair with gadgets and all things tech. I built my first website in 1998 in old-school HTML code — before websites were "a thing". Blogs weren't invented yet. It was the same year that Google was born. My husband and I created TheFunTimesGuide.com in 2004 — before YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and Mashable were launched. That was the year Facebook started and 'blog' was the Word of the Year according Merriam-Webster. Ever since then, anytime a new electronic gadget hits the market… I have to have it. (My husband's impulsive nature to try out every new tech gadget invented is even worse than mine!) When I'm not trying out fun new tech gadgets, you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).