Blog‎ > ‎

Old Before Their Time

posted 7 Apr 2013, 03:18 by Alistair Hamilton   [ updated 7 Apr 2013, 03:19 ]
Those in computer sales and marketing departments would have you believe that your new laptop or PC is only good for two to three years and come that day, you will have no choice but to ditch it and upgrade to a brand new shiny model. Absolute tosh!

If you maintain your equipment and look after it, it will still be more than capable of doing all the things it could do when you first bought it. It will still run the same software that was first installed on it. The problem comes when Microsoft introduce a new operating system or 'advances' in their office suite that need feeding with even more resources than before - resources that your two year old computer may no longer have.

In that situation, do you bend to the will of our ever increasing throw-away society and ditch your perfectly good machine for a new one or do you put your foot down and say enough is enough?

I can never be described as an environmental zealot, but I do what I can to minimise the impact I have on our surroundings. It always grieves me to see perfectly good computer equipment thrown away because it is not fashionable or the fastest bit of kit in town.

This is one area where Linux excels over Windows. It is far less resource hungry than Microsoft's offering and as such can install and run successfully on much older equipment. Indeed, there are some Linux distributions that are designed to run in less than 100MB of RAM.

Here at BetamicroSolutions Towers, there's been no new computer equipment purchased for years. The last computer purchased was the very one on which I now type - an eight year old Dell machine purchased on eBay for £80 and runs the Xubuntu Linux distribution. The office server is even older and happily sits in the corner running Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS.

By way of a final example, my son's computer which I built for him nearly ten years ago, is now surplus to his requirements. Having not used it for three years, it was running painfully slowly under Windows XP. I recently wiped it and installed Linux Lite and it absolutely flies with the operating system taking up only 146MB of its 2GB memory. Indeed, Linux Lite is fast becoming my favourite distribution and is an excellent choice for those new to Linux.

So, if you think your computer is getting 'past it', think again. There are things you can do to extend its life and don't burn a hole in your pocket in the process. If you must get rid of it, please, at the very least, recycle it and don't send it to a landfill site.