How to Optimize an Old Computer
Outdated computers can find a second youth.
Your old computer seems slow and inefficient? Before you get rid of it, there are ways to give it back some youth. If the computer station is mainly used for word processing, communication (emails, chat), reading media (music, video) and browsing the Internet, rejuvenation may suffice. Such an approach is less costly for the wallet and for the environment, compared to a new purchase.
An external hard drive to lighten the computer
Make a big cleaning of your data: save all personal data on an external hard drive or DVDs. This is an opportunity to delete everything that has become useless and to put aside what is important and should not be lost.
Faced with the slowness of your computer, simple steps can be effective, using specific software: install, update and run antivirus and antispyware software. This will remove unwanted malware that has been installed without permission.
Install, update and run cleaning software like CCleaner and Glary Utilities (free). These tools will delete unnecessary files (cookies, temporary files, duplicate files, empty folders …). They also allow you to check and repair the registry in one click (these software programs also facilitate cleaning operations, which can also be executed by Windows tools).
Uninstall any software that has become unnecessary or is used very rarely using the control panel (> Programs> Uninstall a program). Disable applications that launch automatically at startup and slow down computer startup (Control Panel> Programs> Change startup programs). Only those that are used regularly should be kept.
The next steps are devoted to discs: check for errors on the disks and correct them: My Computer> right click on C:> Properties> Tools> Check now.
Defragment hard drives to reduce data fragmentation and speed up their use (Control Panel> System and Maintenance> Administrative Tools> Defragment your hard drive. Please note that this operation can take several hours if the data is numerous and very fragmented.
Reinstall only useful and frequently used data. The others can be kept on storage media so as not to clutter the computer and to protect them in the event of a computer problem. In the event of a serious problem, consider a complete reinstallation of the system. In this case, personal data must be saved before embarking on the operation, armed with recovery discs.
Recycling your Computer
If your computer remains too obsolete for your taste, think of recycling it before buying another! Here are some pointers for a successful computer facelift!
If you have to change computers, consider recycling the old one. If you really want (or need) to get rid of the old machine and acquire a new one, you must first make sure that it no longer contains confidential or personal data. Indeed, emails, passwords, contact details, financial information … can be used in the context of industrial espionage, scams or identity theft!
You must therefore first save personal data on an external hard drive or DVDs: text documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, photos, videos, software, game backups, emails, favorites, etc.
Then the data should be deleted from the hard drive. Unfortunately, selecting everything, putting it in the trash and emptying said trash is not enough: the data is always present as long as no new data is saved on top. Even formatting is not enough to destroy the data, apart from resorting to what is called low-level formatting using specific software from the hard drive manufacturer.
We must therefore operate this type of formatting or use specialized software, such as Eraser, which erases data relatively efficiently.
Reusing your old computer
Then, depending on its condition, the old computer can be sold second-hand, donated to an association, or thrown away. The sale, when possible, makes it possible to recover a (small) part of its funds to finance the purchase of new equipment.
If the computer no longer has any value on the second-hand market, it can still be useful for a disadvantaged audience. Several associations such as the Emmaüs Foundation or Club Numeric are responsible for repairing, reinstalling and recycling old computers for the benefit of institutions and people with limited means (individuals, schools, developing countries).
Finally, if the machine is no longer functional, it must be recycled in channels capable of recovering them and avoiding pollution due to the toxic substances they contain.
As electrical and electronic equipment waste, old computers must therefore be put in recycling centers or exchanged when buying a new computer, according to the One for One rule.