I have been asked how to dispose of old computers. This is usually after I replace an old Windows XP computer with a new Windows 7 or 8 computer. Here are some of the considerations when faced with an old computer.
- For environmental reasons, you can’t just throw computers away.
- There is probably data (information) on the old computer that you don’t want anyone to have access to. – Many people do not think they have private data on their computer, but most do.
- The old computer running Windows XP will probably not support current versions of Windows (Windows 7 or 8). Even if it technically will support windows 7 or 8 – it will run poorly.
- Most of us want to make use of something that may still have value.
One thing you can do is install Linux on it. Linux is secure, free and will run on most older computers. On a Linux computer you can do many of the things you do now on Windows. Linux has many ‘flavors’ – I use Mint. The learning curve from XP to Mint is smaller than XP to a MAC. Linux does not have all the security considerations Windows XP does. There are almost no viruses and security updates are available. It is true that most applications that run on Windows will not run on Linux but there a free equivalents available. Did I mention that all of this is Free? Here are two obvious uses for installing Mint on an older computer.
- As a computer for Internet browsing and email reading. That’s all some people use a computer for anyway. There will be almost no learning curve and Mint will not have the security issues XP has now.
- As a child’s ‘gaming’ or study computer. I’m not talking about a blazing fast computer to play today’s latest games but there are lots of games available for Linux. My kids play Minecraft (that’s another blog post!) so I re-purposed an old laptop of mine that my kids can play Minecraft on. My 4th grader has online homework assignments that can be completed (with very few exceptions) with one of these computers.
Mint can be downloaded for free, burned to a DVD and installed on your old computer. In the process the old installation of Windows can be removed for security or left alone for a dual-boot computer. You need some computer savvy but not too much. There are cases when things don’t work perfectly but there is usually a solution that can be found on Google. After installation you have a basic, safe, Internet ready computer. You can customize it but that might require specialized knowledge. For instance, I had to teach myself how to make Minecraft run automatically for my kids.
I believe that many of you can do this yourself. If you need help or you want a more customized Linux computer call Sander Computer Services at 972-514-7727.