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What did you do with your last old computer?

by Marc Bennett CNET staff/forum admin / April 25, 2006 6:59 AM PDT

What did you do with your last old computer?

Put it in a closet (how many systems do you have now?)
Sent it to the trash can (why not recycle it?)
Donated it (did you format your hard drive?)
Recycled it (did it cost you anything?)
Gave it to a friend or relative (any regrets?)
Salvage it for parts
Other (tell us)

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how many systems do you have now?
by jlsb099 / April 25, 2006 10:47 AM PDT

Not that many: 2 that I'm actually using; 3 that are mothballed in a closet; plus miscellaneous mothballed parts.

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by dltd / April 25, 2006 11:30 AM PDT

yeah. I'm using 2 macs, but have 3 windows machines stuck in a basement.

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spare systems
by gosiula8sut / April 25, 2006 12:05 PM PDT

I have 2 systems I use plus 2 stashed in my closet plus a bunch of spare hard drives and misc parts.

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Computer Sargasso
by bertman714 / April 25, 2006 1:59 PM PDT

I just can't throw anything away. I have a 286, a 386, a Cyrix M2 and a Pentium II (besides the one I'm using now). I rationalize keeping the two Win 3.1 systems by saying I use them to refresh my memory (just in case), and the Pentium II I use to run legacy apps on ME. Basically this means my Timex DataBank watch, as it won't work on W2K up (even in compatibility mode) and I don't want to give up the watch. I did give up my TS1000, Kaypro K2000 and my Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer.
Still can't seem to part with all those unopened boxes of 5'' floppies though.

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same here
by theandy83 / April 30, 2006 12:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Computer Sargasso

i refuse to part with my 2 celrons(for pentium 2), my pentium 2, my pentiumMMX, nor will i part with my 386.
i thing somewhere deep in the closet i might have a vintage ibm. i think its 1986 or 7. it has windows 1.0
im getting a p3 soon and then i will still not get rid of any of my computers.

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Turned it into a Print server
by pyrixpx / April 25, 2006 2:56 PM PDT

My old PIII is living in my closet as a Print server, becuase I wanted to get my wide and long Brother colour printer/scanner/card reader off my desk.

The PIII runs fanless with the standard heat sink, though it is sitting right next to the PSU fan, so that helps, and im not game to run it at full load.

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They're still useful.
by jla10021 / April 30, 2006 9:15 PM PDT

We have now five Macs and one PC, of which only two of the Macs are in regular use. The PC is just there in case something won't work on a Mac, but we hardly ever use it.

Of the other three Macs, the laptop is in bits after my husband tipped tea into it (I'll get it working again one day!); the old all-in-one has had a TV card added and is basically there in case I have any old system 7 stuff I want to use (like Lemmings!) and the other has a video player attached to it and put in a child's bedrroom

I don't know what I'll do when I finally find a computer there is no use for. I can't bear the thought of putting it into a landfill site. Of course, an old Mac is a very useful thing even for a PC user to use on the internet because there exist virtually no viruses for a post OSX machine.

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In spare room for kids to play
by slopok8225 / April 25, 2006 10:57 AM PDT

It is a Compaq Presario 600mhz sytem purchased around 2001' or so. I have 5 full blown sytems now that are all exactly 4 months and 3 days old. When I got my Social Security I kinda splurged, but that old system is now a gaming computer for the little ones for playing the old tycoon games. That is about all it has on it now, as I had migrated everything onto a 40GB external drive.

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by pukstpr12 / April 25, 2006 11:01 AM PDT

With my last computer, I decided to use it as an HTTP server. I can use it to share printers on my network, host downloads, and host my own website, and a lot more

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Back Up Server
by Alan Petsche / April 26, 2006 9:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Server

I stripped out the video and sound and use it as a (wireless) back up server in the closet.

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by pukstpr12 / April 25, 2006 11:01 AM PDT

With my last computer, I decided to use it as an HTTP server...I can use it to share printers on my network, host downloads, and host my own website

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I'd like to do that
by martinb / April 25, 2006 1:20 PM PDT
In reply to: Server

but I'm still new to this and trying to catch up. I have at least 2 old pc's laying around and I've heard about turning 1 into a server so I can build my own home network.
Any advice would help.

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Building a server
by pukstpr12 / April 26, 2006 10:17 AM PDT
In reply to: I'd like to do that
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Turned my old computer into a server
by pukstpr12 / April 25, 2006 11:01 AM PDT

With my last computer, I decided to use it as an HTTP server. I can use it to share printers on my network, host downloads, and host my own website, and a lot more

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by Bob_Meyer / April 25, 2006 11:05 AM PDT

They tend to stack up in a closet for a while until the church youth group has a garage sale, then I trot them all out, meticulously clean up hard drives (I use Simple File Shredder to remove sensitive data) and donate them. At the last Youth Garage sale I donated three desktops, one laptop, three monitors and a laser printer. The in-service fleet is down to four laptops, two desktops, five printers and assorted other peripherals, including five digital cameras.

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Smoothwall Firewall
by avaughan61 / April 25, 2006 11:12 AM PDT

I turned my old PC into a smoothwall firewall and it works great. I used tips from and so now i have a hardware firewall. Good luck gettting in now bad guys!!!

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How to destroy hard drive data for sure
by ashish7522 / April 25, 2006 11:14 AM PDT

Just drill a couple of holes right through it and then recycle the remains.

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by Olliedog / April 25, 2006 2:24 PM PDT


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Recycle hard drive
by kaalki / April 25, 2006 11:14 AM PDT

I recycle my hard drives with a big hammer. They are not usable. All others part are used until totally obsolete, so obsolete that no one really wants them.I did give a way a 533 P4 and some old memory to a neighbor who is retired and could not afford a computer.


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My last computer
by tbltx / April 25, 2006 11:17 AM PDT

My last computer went to my son. It is a 1 Gig and will not play the new games that are out now. I am in the process of building him a new one as soon as the parts arrive. His computer will either be sold or pasted on to another relative.

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Put them into the basement
by mandrewwhiteman / April 25, 2006 11:17 AM PDT

I have 4 PCs and 1 laptop. They have data and photos I may want to retrieve in the future. They are useful as backups should I have trouble with my PC!
Laptops have a short life and by old laptop serves as a back up. When one of the laptops dies, I give it to a technician friend who rapairs it for his own network or resale.

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Make it so it can't be read.
by ntw1103 / April 25, 2006 11:26 AM PDT

First I format the hard drive, then I fill the whole drive up with a long .mpeg of a blank screen. then I reformat it. then I shatter the hard drive after opening it up, put the parts in different trash bags, and take the bags out at different times. everthing else I Burn. j/k I just toss it.

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I have the opposite problem!
by dkniskern / April 25, 2006 12:55 PM PDT

It might be easier just to send your old hard drives to me - I seem to have a knack for making them so they can't be read. My 5 month old Dell Dimension 4700C crashed when I tried to download a free antivirus program, and though I've taken it to three different places, no one has been able to retieve the data. Fortunately, most of my photos etc were backed up, but not the newest ones.

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Sold it in 5 minutes on Craigs list
by winedy / April 25, 2006 11:33 AM PDT

I reformatted the hard drive of course. I thought that was safe, but the people I sold it to were not very compter savvy so I feel OK about it. I had been hacked, and many strange things had been happening. I'm hoping this does not put me at future risk. I now have a Hardware Firewall, Spysweeper, and keep virus and securities updated. I am worried though because I have two shares on my new computer, and my Administrator Account has a password I did not initiate. Could I still have a problem? I've run all tests, and the only problem I've found is with MBSA, showing more than 1 share.

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Maybe not a good idea
by mandrewwhiteman / April 27, 2006 7:07 AM PDT

You might be ok if you did a good wipe of the hard drive. You thought the people who bought it weren't comuter savvy. May be true or they could be prentending. That is an unknown factor. Even if you now have security features, the may retrieve your account numbers and passwords!
Still, my PC dies at least once a year, so I feel it is a good idea to beep a back up. I have so much data in my 1st PC (from 8 years ago) that I was unable to transfer on floppys (it is from the days before CD burners) that I may want to drag it out and retrieve data and photos.

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Target Pratice
by bassbeatz / April 25, 2006 11:34 AM PDT

I system build as a hobby and average 30 units a year.
Quite often a client will ask do you want there old unit to which i all ways say yes as you never know when you might need some old parts for that person who belives in windows 98 and has that retro pc still.

Now Windows xp has taken hold i have very few clients left with 98 units so i decided to clear out not long back and found 5 towers with 166 intel pentium a massive 1 gig gard or below hard drive and a huge amount of ram at 64 mb or 32 mb.

Now as we know your pc can get you to the point that you want to shoot it,so when i have a bad pc day i put an old 166 tower out in my garden with the side off and get my 22 cal air arms air rifle with 200 bar of pressure which is enough for 160 rounds of logan penatrator pellets,or on a good day just pop a few shots off while xp lays on a hard drive.

I find hitting the cpu a challenge at 100 yds and hitting the diode pots can be fun.

The hard drive takes a good battering and a good way of destroying data and viruses Happy

So there you go no more shrink visits to say that you want to kill your pc just sacrafice your old one or take in donations.....Go on make your day


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More Target Practice
by johnlo / April 25, 2006 12:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Target Pratice

We recycled everything from our last computer except the hard drive. There was no charge for the recycle which was pretty amazing because virtually nothing gets recycled here, (hinterlands of Wyoming).

The hard drive was used as a target for some moderate to heavy sporting guns of both the handgun and rifle varieties and then dumped in the garbage.

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Closet Computers
by J Tench / April 25, 2006 11:35 AM PDT

I have 3 computers and 3 printers basically sitting around that I would like to sell. But I haven't got around to doing it yet.

I took a large capacity disk out of one to put into a networkable external enclosure which is now shared over the network. Works a treat too, everyone on the network has access and its pretty fast.

So now we are left with 4 desktops, 1 laptop, 2 printers, 1 file server and a ton of spare parts. All of the disks have been securely erased before we reloaded the OS and Office software.

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PC To Children
by George B. Lockwood / April 25, 2006 11:56 AM PDT

I suggest after reformatting the hard drive using White Canyon WipeDrive, then use White Canyon SecureClean.

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last computer
by twl845 / April 25, 2006 11:56 AM PDT

When I got my new Dell last year, I moved my old one into another room and loaded children's games into it. Now when the Grand kids come over I let them use the old Win 98 computer, and told all of them with the exception of the 12 year old who is almost as computer literit as me that my Dell is not for them to touch. My Wife has expressed an interest to learn the basics but is afraid to learn on the Dell. Smart women. She uses the old computer to type out recipies for now, and as she progresses, I'll let her go online with the Dell when she's ready.

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