DIY: Make that old PC run like new

My computer

Every year, many thousands of computers are replaced by new ones in Australia. But is this really necessary? Lance Turner explains how to make that old PC run like new.

THE BIG problem with so many computers being replaced is that most areas of Australia still don’t have convenient recycling facilities. Sure, councils offer hard waste collection, but most of that goes to landfill. For computers, especially older ones which contain toxic materials such as lead and brominated fire retardants (BFRs), placing them in landfill is about the worst thing that can happen to them, as the toxic materials will eventually leach out and end up in groundwater.

But is it possible to make an older computer run much faster—fast enough to compete with a more modern machine? Provided you’re not into heavy video editing or gaming, the answer is, yes, you can. If you’re like the average person and mostly browse the web, write letters and edit your happy snaps, then an older machine can easily take the place of a newer model. Even for more demanding tasks, an older PC can be made to perform very well.

What slows them down?
Computers get slower for two main reasons.Firstly, the demands on them increase over time. As new versions of software are released with more features, the amount of code in the software and hence the memory it requires to run also increases. Whether it is your operating system or one of your favourite applications, new releases can slowly degrade performance until the computer feels like it’s running at a snail’s pace.

Also, many people have a habit of installing software they simply don’t need. Google, Yahoo and Ask toolbars in browsers and iTunes, Google and Adobe updaters are common forms of this, but there are many others. And what makes things a whole lot worse is that many of these applications will load part or all of themselves when the computer first boots. If you are not using that application, then it is running for no reason and simply sucking up computer resources (memory and processor time) for no reason. The more programs running on your PC at any one time, the slower it runs.

Read the full article in ReNew 120.

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