What if you have an old computer lying around that is no longer functional? It is not necessary for it to remain in this state. You can repair it and get it working again, as well as upgrade it, by following the steps outlined below.
1. Look at it. Yes, just take a look at the computer screen. Examine it from every angle and ask yourself some questions about it. Is there any damage to the case, starting at the top? Is there any evidence of damage to the case on either side? Is there a fan on the left-hand side of the room? Is the fan not working properly? On the back of the computer, it says: “What ports does this computer have?” Are all of them on the motherboard, or are some of them expansion cards? Is there a power supply? What kind of disc drives do I see on the front? What kind of damage do the USB ports on the front of the case (if there are any) appear to have received?
2. Make an attempt to turn it on. Locate a power cord and connect it to the wall outlet. Turn it on and take note of what happens. If it doesn’t turn on at all, it’s possible that something is wrong with the case. If it powers on and beeps, it is possible that something is wrong with the case. If it powers on and the discs make a whine, it’s probably fine for the time being.
3. Unplug it and take it out of the case. Even if there were no issues in step 2, you should still open the case. In this room, you must complete a few tasks. If it doesn’t power on at all, check the power connectors that connect the power supply to the motherboard. If they’re properly connected, then there’s most likely something wrong with the power supply or motherboard, and this computer isn’t worth it unless you have replacements on hand. If this is the case, ensure that they are properly connected. Take a look at the connectors for the disc drives. Is it possible that they are upside down? Is the pin configuration of a drive incorrect? It should be corrected.
4. It should be cleaned. Cleaning the case with compressed air is recommended. Dust the motherboard, cards, disc drives, power supply, any fans (especially the CPU fan on the motherboard), and the area around everything with a soft cloth or compressed air. Keep in mind to hold the fans while cleaning them to avoid breaking or damaging them.
5. Look for any broken or damaged components. If the CD-ROM drive does not function, it should be removed. If the sound card is not working properly, it should be removed. If the graphics card is faulty, it should be replaced (and get another). If the CMOS battery needs to be replaced, make the necessary repairs.
6. Replace what you’ve taken away (if possible or necessary). It’s especially critical that you replace any RAM that has become corrupted. It’s also important to know if the hard drive was faulty. You shouldn’t be concerned if the 56k modem was not functioning properly because you will likely upgrade in the next step (don’t replace anything because you will be upgrading).
7. Upgrade. If something can be improved, it should be improved. Upgrade the computer to the greatest extent possible. Upgrade the RAM, hard disk(s), and, if possible, convert the CD-ROM to DVD. If the computer previously had a 56k modem, upgrade it to gigabit ethernet or a wi-fi card, among other things. Reading How to Build a Computer for instructions on how to work inside the case may be beneficial to you.
8. Check to see if it works. Check to see that all of the steps listed above were successful. Turn it on and check to see that you can boot into BIOS and that you can configure all of the hard drives (with an exception to some computers such as the Compaq Deskpro 2000, which do not allow you to access the BIOS directly).
9. Install an operating system. Use a modern Operating System for better features and security.
1 GB+ of RAM (Minimum) Windows 7.
512MB of RAM (Minimum) Ubuntu, Windows XP and Windows Vista.
256MB of RAM (Minimum) Xubuntu.
128MB of RAM (Minimum) Lubuntu.
10. Installing software is a simple process. Although it is not particularly important, installing software can make your property more useful to you and more appealing to buyers in the future.
11. If you’re selling it, make sure to include some extras. Include at the very least a power cord, a keyboard, a mouse, and possibly a monitor in your package. Include any leftovers from the time you purchased it (even if you don’t intend to use them). If you have additional equipment, consider including speakers, printers, a modem, a joystick, software discs, and other similar items.
12. If you’re going to sell it, make a reasonable asking price. A good computer from the mid-to-late 1990s could probably be sold for anywhere between $10 and $50 on the secondary market. Calculate how much you spent on it and then add your labour charge to the total. Suppose you spent 5 hours working on this computer at $2 an hour and spent $15 on it in total (including the purchase of the computer, unless you are the original owner), and you want to add an additional $5 to your total. If you add them all up, the total would be $30, so sell your computer for that amount, but make sure it is worthwhile. For $30, no one wants to spend their money on a computer that has only 16 megabytes of RAM and runs Windows 3.1.
13. If you’re not selling it, put it to good use. The only way all of that effort will be worthwhile is if you put it to good use. Now is a good time to sit down and play a few old games, run some older software that has been rejected by Windows 7, and give it to your children to use as a router or take it to school with you.
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