Tips On How to Extend Your Computer's Utility and Life

Tips On How to Extend Your Computer's Utility and Life

Range Govindan
Sep 3, 2010

A lot of us have PCs at home. In our home, we have a MacBook Pro 13, an Asus W7M 13.3" laptop, and a desktop that we got in 2006. Most of my computing is done from my desktop and it's still going on strong. What are the ways that you can keep your desktop running for longer, so that you get the most out of it?


A lot of people are making the transition to laptop life. That doesn't mean that desktops are a thing of the past. Some of the most powerful applications run best on desktops, from design tools to video games. However, like most people, I find that desktops are in decline because not everyone needs that much computing power. With all of the new gear on the market, what can you do to prolong the life of you aging desktop?

When I buy tech, from laptops, to electronics, I tend to get the best that I can afford because I know that these products will last longer than low or mid-range products. This is one of the reasons why my desktop is still working fine. I custom-built it up to my specs, with ample hard drive space and RAM.

1. Upgrading Parts
The easiest way of prolonging the life of your computer is to simply upgrade some parts. The best upgrade will be a bigger hard drive. You can easily buy a 2TB hard drive that will allow you to store a lot of things. I'd max out the RAM of your computer as well. You can never have too much.

2. New Monitor(s)
Nothing revitalizes an old PC like a new spanking monitor. If you ever get rid of your laptop, these peripherals can be used on your laptop as well. I bought a 22" screen a few years ago and will most likely get a 27" or larger when I upgrade. Another option would be to just buy two of those great monitors and convert your desktop to a multi-monitor setup. While you can use different screens, it usually works best with similarly sized monitors. If you're planning on doing this, make sure that you have the right graphics cards. Most multi-monitor setups require more than one.

3. Regular Formats
I know it's a pain, but formatting your hard drives somewhat regularly just speeds up everything. I just dump everything on an external HD and then format. The formats allow you to get rid of all of the programs that you no longer use and install a fresh copy of Windows. If you're still using XP, you should upgrade to Windows 7. It's a nice OS.

4. Converting Your Desktop to an HTPC
Ditching your desktop for a laptop? Before chucking it out, you might want to use it in your living room, if you can find a spot to hide away your PC case.

5. Convert Your PC to A Home Server
Instead of getting rid of your desktop, you can just use it as a base filled with a bunch of hard drives. Once you have enough hard drives, you can dump all of the extra stuff from your laptops onto it. With WiFi, you can tuck it away almost anywhere in your home and use it this way.

(Image: Flickr member Stéfan licensed for use under Creative Commons; additional images via Gadget Lite, Stefan Didak)

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Converting Your PC Into An HTPC

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