9 Creative Ideas For Your Old Computers and Printers

At some point, all computers become obsolete. The situation with printers isn’t much different. Printers have a finite life and aren’t supported indefinitely. What can be done with old printers and computers? There must be something better than throwing them in the trash. Here are a few ideas to consider.
1. Donate it: Many local schools, daycares, charities, and churches would like to have your old computer or printer. The local school computer lab might like to have it for parts. It’s possible to get a tax write-off, too. Perhaps a friend would like it. There are also international organizations that take donations of computers and some even attempt to rebuild them for underprivileged children. See PC United and Computers for a Cause to read about two of these organizations.
2. Experiment with it. If you’ve ever been interested in an alternative operating system, like Linux, your old computer might be the perfect testing ground. You might want to take your old computer apart and learn about how it works. There might be something interesting inside of that old printer, too. If you’re interested in computer electronics this is a good opportunity to study them a bit. What do you have to lose?
3. Sell them. They might only be worth a few dollars, but something is better than nothing. Try ebay or craigslist. Someone is likely to want your old stuff, for the right price.
4. There are buy-back programs for printers. Hewlett-Packard will buy back printers from any manufacturer. Staples will recycle Dell printers for free and others for a small fee. From time to time, they offer rebate incentives toward a new printer purchase.
5. Dedicate it to a single task. You might want to use that computer only for word processing, or multiplayer gaming, or as a multi-media station. You might want to use it to play older games that only run on DOS on Windows 98. Maybe you do graphics work part-time. It can be handy to have a dedicated computer.
6. Create a home network. An old computer isn’t the best server, but for a small home network, it can be entirely usable. It’s good experience, and the whole family can benefit.
7. Use it as the ‘family’ computer or printer. It can be nice to have a light-duty computer that’s used in front of the TV for simple gaming or Internet surfing. You probably don’t want your 5-year old on your brand new laptop anyway.
8. Use it for parts. If you like to build computers, the old computer can be used for parts. Maybe you only want the case and power supply. Or perhaps the hard drive is relatively new, and you’d like to salvage it. Printer parts are bit more challenging to salvage, but it can be done.
9. Recycle it. Almost every community has a recycling center that takes computers. You can do a Google Search for “computer recycling” and probably get some good results. These organizations will make sure nothing is wasted on the computer or laptop. This might be the best option for the environment.
If another person/organization will be getting your computer, be sure to remove all traces of personal programs/data before it leaves your possession. There is feature in Windows 8 called ‘Remove Everything’ and will remove everything from the hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows. Other versions of Windows will require other means. If you are not very computer saavy you might need to contact your local computer repair shop and ask if they do secure data destruction before you release your old machine to another person or organization. You don’t want your personal data in the wrong hands. For more information on computer repair in Louisville, KY or related articles you can visit our blog called PC News.

My Phone is Not Adequate But Should I Get A Tablet or Laptop?

The confusion about buying a tablet vs. a laptop is a common dilemma. Portable computing is becoming more relevant all the time. Smart phones are powerful tools, but they have limitations. There’s only so much you can do on that small screen, for starters.
As with many things, it really depends on your needs. Assessing your needs is always a great first step before making any decision. With that information, consider the following:
Tablets have several advantages:
The battery life of a tablet is far superior in most cases. Most laptops are only good for a couple hours of use. Tablets are typically good for 8+ hours of constant use.
Tablets are more portable and comfortable to use, within their limitations. Laptops are heavier, noisier, need a surface for optimum use, and simply take up more space. A tablet is comfortable to use, regardless of circumstances. Tablets require a lot less room, too.
Tablets utilize a touchscreen interface. Touchscreen are handy under the right circumstances and can eliminate the need for a mouse or keyboard. Many tasks are quicker and easier with a touchscreen. It also increases simplicity and portability.
Cost: Though the difference isn’t great, most tablets cost less than most laptops.
Apps:Tablet apps are surprisingly powerful and inexpensive.
Advantages of laptops:
Storage space: Laptops can hold a lot more information that a tablet. Even the least expensive laptop will have approximately 10x the storage of a tablet computer. It’s also possible to inexpensively add storage to a laptop.
Power: A decent laptop has much more computing power than a tablet. There are few limitations with a laptop. Try running a program with high memory and CPU requirements on a tablet and see what happens.
File formats: Tablets can be somewhat limited when using certain types of files. With the right software, a laptop can display or use nearly any file format.
Larger screen and keyboard: A decent sized laptop has a considerably larger screen, which makes certain types of work much easier. A laptop isn’t great for churning through spreadsheets, but it’s a lot better than a tablet! The keyboard on a laptop is typically quite a bit larger and more comfortable for extended use; not to mention that a keyboard on a laptop has actual keys!
Connectivity: Laptops have far more options for connection peripherals. External drives, monitors, printers, USB and HDMI ports, etc., are all possibilities with a laptop. The options are much more limited with a tablet.
Multi-tasking: A laptop is much more amenable to multi-tasking. An iPad, for example, won’t even accommodate playing music while another task is being addressed.
If you’re doing serious work, a laptop is probably the more optimal tool. Tablets are much more limited, but if the limitations don’t apply to your needs, a tablet’s portability and increased battery life have a lot to offer. Consider your needs and make the best choice for your unique situation.

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