Extending the Life of Your Computer

Sometimes you’d really like to replace those wheezing, five-year-old computers, but you’re a bit short on funds, so you have to make the TRS-80s last a while longer. To help you make the best use of technology that you currently have, we suggest you download our Prolonging Computer Use — Tips and Tools. It outlines some of the different ways to prolong the usable life of your equipment.

Stories from the Field

If we do have the money to replace a computer, we still keep [the old one] for as long as possible. We use it as a junkyard or a parts computer. If the power supply goes bad on this computer, I can take one out of the junk computer.

Sarah McElfresh
North Madison County Public Library System, IN

Usually, when a machine goes out of service, it gets repurposed. I’ll use it as a backup machine over here; or we’ve got a temporary worker who needs a machine to sit at for a few days. And then, after that, I’ll usually store them just in case I have to send a machine back or one’s out of service for a while. And even then I’ll keep a couple just in case we decide to add another public computer here or something over there. The keyboards and the mice I’ll always keep, because we go through those, like a million a year, it seems like — they’re always getting broken or busted; the mice take a lot of abuse. And then when it’s actually time to get rid of the machine or it’s getting close to it, I’ll start taking things like the CD-ROM out, the floppy drive, and repurpose those, because the CD-ROMs and floppy drives take a lot of abuse; again, I always need them. I’ll strip the memory out, the hard drive out, because I can use those in other machines. Very rarely do I ever sell an old machine. But I can, and I’ve done it before, through the county. They have a garage sale twice a year, and I usually format the hard drive, and then our board has to declare them surplus. I have to explain how old they were, what they were used for, how much we spent for them, how much the depreciated cost is now, that kind of stuff. Then they will declare them surplus and I can take them down to the county office and they sell them, and I think they give us a percentage of the amount of money they make off of them.

Matt Beckstrom
Lewis & Clark Public Library System, MT