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Storing Computer for Long Period of Time

by tomag / May 7, 2004 9:41 AM PDT

I recently bought a new computer and would like to store my old one (Windows 98SE HP Pavillion) and save it for my son to use in about 3 yrs. The computer is about 4 yrs old. Can that be done, and is there any thing I need to do to the computer? I have already erased the hard drive and re-formatted it with the recovery disc so that it is ready to use with a clean hard drive. Any suggestions would be helpful. Right now it is boxed up and being stored in the closet. Thanks, Tom....

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Re:Storing Computer for Long Period of Time/my advice
by Steven Haninger / May 7, 2004 10:06 AM PDT

You should get plenty of good hits on this one. Keep in mind that the computer will be 7 years old when brought back into use and it's anyone guess what it might be useful for at that time. I doubt any new software will run on it. But, you asked about storage so here goes. I would remove the motherboard battery. This is just in case it might die and leak. This should be rare with batteries today but I would not risk it. You might also purchase another battery for it at some point and keep it in a freezer in dry packaging. It's possible the needed battery will not be readily available in three years. The whole PC should be keep in clean and dry conditions to prevent normal corrosion that occurs over time that changes electrical characteristics of exposed metal parts. Corrosion leads to poor connections, causes grounding problems, etc. When it's time to bring it out of storage, take it all apart, clean away the spider webs, etc and reseat all connections. Fire it up and hope the HD still is free enough to spin up and the fans all work. Good luck.

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Re:Re:Storing Computer for Long Period of Time/my advice
by jconner / May 7, 2004 12:31 PM PDT

I kept a TRS-80 model I bought in 1975 in its original box in my attic for over 20 years. It fired right up last year and I promptly sold it for more than I paid. Gives you something to think about it 4 years. Keep the moisture off it. Don't wrap it in plastic as it will sweat. Consider some silicon packets to keep moisture out. Should be fun to re-visit in 4 years. I had fun playing with the trash 80 for about 10 minutes. Funny what hi-tech was then and now.

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''Freezer''
by Cursorcowboy / May 8, 2004 11:40 PM PDT
battery for it at some point and keep it in a freezer

"Consumer Reports" has reported on this subject and adamantly states it doesn't do any good. They have gone on to state however there certainly isn't any harm done by doing so.
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Re:''Freezer''/you may be right
by Steven Haninger / May 9, 2004 10:37 AM PDT
In reply to: ''Freezer''

I come from the old carbon/zinc days and this was a way to slow the chemical reaction required to make these and many later batteries work. There were plenty of schools of thought about battery storage. Another thought is that, not only might the computer be a goner but the freezer might be as well.

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Re:Storing Computer for Long Period of Time
by Yew / May 7, 2004 8:19 PM PDT

I would have to say that you should just sell the system now while it still has some value, then stick that money in a savings account and let it earn interest for 3 years. By that time, you will probably be able to buy at least 2X the system that is for the $500 or so you could probably get for it now.

If you save it, don't even think about running any version of Windows on it. Win98 has already been end-of-lifed by Microsoft meaning no more patches for it, no more making sure programs work with it, etc. XP will be in heavy basic maintainence mode in 3 years time and nearing it's EOL point. It would be a hazzard to put that thing on the Internet unless you were running Linux or maybe FreeBSD.

Sell it while it still has monetary value worth the bother, and buy a new (or new used) system in 3 years time.

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Re:Storing Computer for Long Period of Time
by Bob__B / May 7, 2004 11:15 PM PDT

Are you sure you want to do that?

Crystal ball time,, the year is 2007.

The average PC is 4+GHZ.
64 bit is the norm.

It will take your kid just a few days to figure out that this things a CLUNKER.

It will not run any of the things that all his friends are using. Sad

Support has long since gone away and if you hook that to the net you might be toast in short order.

SELL IT.

In three years your local petro station might be giving away a PC with every tank of fuel. Happy

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Issues to tackle.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 9, 2004 12:00 AM PDT

1. Drivers.

You already can see that 98, for better or worse is getting very little supprot now. If you don't inventory the machine and collect drivers today, then in 2 years, finding those drivers to make it work may be too much work.

2. CD Rot.

Storage of the CD and other media isn't guaranteed.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/05/06/disc.rot.ap/index.html

3. The Earth erases the media slowly.

While losses are few and far between, a parked hard disk may slowly drop a few too many bits. Another not so well known issue is that the lubricants on the bearings will dry up and an old drive that we pulled from storage didn't spin up. It had been in storage 5 years to support an older mission critical "Vax." A whack on the table in what we guessed would be the right direction woke it up.

Bob

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