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Eight ideas for last year’s computer

You’ve been enjoying that new computer for months now. But your old one is still sitting there in the corner of the room, reminding you that you haven’t yet figured out what to do with it.

We can help. Here are eight ideas on what to do with your old computer.

n Learn networking. With two computers on hand, you can take a stab at making a local area network (LAN).



All versions of Windows since Windows 95 have networking features built in, so you won’t need additional software.

On the hardware side, you’ll need an Ethernet card for your old machine (around $30, and your new PC probably already has Ethernet built in) and either a network cable (from $10, depending on its length) or a hub or switch (from $40) with standard CAT5 networking cables.



For help on how to network them, visit http://www.wown.com.

n Make a multimedia player. Most computers have sound cards, and any system later than a Pentium 200 can run Winamp skip-free.

Try installing your favorite digital-music software on the old machine. Consult our article from March 11, 2003, at http://www.friscocomputerstore.com/ or visit http://www.musicmatch

jukebox.com/.

n Try multiplayer games. When your family members complain that you spend too much time playing PC games, you could convince them to join you.

Once your home network is set up, you can have mini-LAN parties any time you want. The real trick is finding games that work well with your oldest computer.

Try DOOM 95, which works fairly well even on a 486DX/66 system and runs smoothly on a Pentium 200 computer.

n Install Linux. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Linux, the free, Unix-like operating system for PCs. If you have ever considered trying it but were afraid of what it might do to your existing Windows setup, why not try it on a different computer?

n Make a printer/file/Web server. If your old computer is in good shape but just too slow for your needs, it may make a fine server. If you have a few printers connected to a few computers, consider connecting all the printers to your old computer and setting up a network to your newer machine.

This way, you leave one computer on all the time, which saves energy, and you’ll be able to print from any networked machine to any of the printers.

n Donate your unwanted PC to a local school. If you really have no use for an old machine, call your local school.

n Strip it and sell the parts. Somewhere in the world, some small business or volunteer organization is getting by with old computers that work just fine.

But when those machines break, getting replacement parts can be very difficult. Your old motherboard, video card, hard drive, network card, or other component could be invaluable to someone out there on eBay.

n Recycle it. If none of these ideas tickle your fancy, don’t just throw your computer away. Fortunately, computer-recycling companies meet this challenge. For information on Colorado recycling, try http://www.cafr.org.

Contact us at clickandhack@ friscocomputerstore.com.


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