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Windows 7: What can I do with an old desktop PC ?

05 Nov 2017   #1
margrave

Windows 10 x64
 
 
What can I do with an old desktop PC ?

I bought a new Dell desktop six months ago to replace my six-year-old HP (i7-930, Win 7, 8 GB, 1000 + 500 GB drives).

And I got a Lenovo laptop with dock to replace my wife's HP desktop (i3-540, Win 7, 4 GB, 640 GB drive).

Unlike the many replaced desktops of the past that were only fit for the junk man, these are pretty decent ones.

So ... what could I do with them?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Nov 2017   #2
strollin

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)
 
 

The obvious answer is to sell or donate them but something tells me your real question is how can you put them to use in a different capacity.

In that case, I would consider using one of them as a media server. You can install something like Kodi or Plex (my choice) and then put all of your movies, music, photos, etc... on that machine and have them available on your other machines as well as tablets or phones.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2017   #3
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

I use an old PC as my backup/media server. I just shoved a lot of drives in it and away I go. You don't use a lot of power for an i3 for instance, and it will more than do the job effectively. Mine uses an old AMD Athlon X2 5200 and it works fine.

Much better than sitting in a landfill IMO.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Nov 2017   #4
margrave

Windows 10 x64
 
 

Up until this summer the media server would have been a good idea. But we have google fiber now, and it comes with an all-room DVR. (The service is excellent.)

I just might end up donating them, though ... if I can't find a proper use for them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2017   #5
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

If you donate them, be sure to torch the drives with something like DBAN, or take the drives out and keep them before you donate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2017   #6
margrave

Windows 10 x64
 
 

A media center is of no use to me. I don't watch TV. And my wife uses the DVR for whatever she needs.

I guess the donation idea is best.
Now ... how do I wipe my stuff off the drives?

I know how to do a full wipe, but that would leave the PC with no OS. Not a very useful donation.
I'd prefer to just delete all of "our files", and then do a wipe on all unused sectors. This would leave Windows intact.

Suggestions?

I see now that you mentioned DBAN. I'll have to look that up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2017   #7
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

What I would do is simply put it to work as a server of some sort. A file server using old hardware but tons of storage space is a good use to an older computer. Personal files, movies, music, photos, that sort of things are all good candidates for its usage.
A backup server is another possibility. Make this system backups the others, automatically of course, and you have a safe store just in case. All your software and data could be backed up there.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by margrave View Post
I guess the donation idea is best.
Now ... how do I wipe my stuff off the drives?
Pretty simple, you just reformat the drives and reinstall an operating system from scratch. No traces of you will be left there. This is the same procedure for any ownership change of any digital device, and the bare minimum acceptable from a security point of view.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by margrave View Post
I know how to do a full wipe, but that would leave the PC with no OS. Not a very useful donation.
I'd prefer to just delete all of "our files", and then do a wipe on all unused sectors. This would leave Windows intact.
You reinstall Windows (or another OS) afterwards and make it operative again. Even without that, a "OSless" computer, you're still donating the hardware, installing the software from there is a piece of cake to anyone with some understanding of computers.

Just deleting "your files" is unrealistic in practice. Windows leaves copies of information in all places (temporary files, paging files, browser cache, hibernation file, superfetch cache, that sort of things) and deleting all them (or even knowing of its existence) is quite difficult and you won't have full confidence of wiping everything. A clean install is probably faster and leaves you 100% certain of no traces of personal data. A HD wipe utility like the suggested DBAN is evn more effective.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2017   #8
margrave

Windows 10 x64
 
 

Quick-formatting and then reinstalling Windows won't erase unallocated sectors.
So I guess I'll have to do a full wipe with DBAN first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2017   #9
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quick or full format don't erases unallocated or even allocated sectors. It just prevents your data from being trivially available to anyone. A real disk wiping utility is needed to ensure full deletion really.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2017   #10
margrave

Windows 10 x64
 
 

This might seem appropriate ...
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Alejandro85 View Post
Put it to work as a server of some sort. A file server using old hardware but tons of storage space is a good use to an older computer. Personal files, movies, music, photos, that sort of things are all good candidates for its usage.
... but the bigger box has only 1 TB of storage, and the smaller one has only 640 GB.

In contrast I added a 2 TB third drive to my new desktop. It's my backup drive holding full backups of key folders on both main computers, and a full Macrium image of my computer ... with room to spare.

The paltry 1 TB in the old computer is little more than a bump on a log.

So I guess these will become donations ... or maybe Craigs List sales.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 What can I do with an old desktop PC ?




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