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Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Out With the Old, In With the New

If you have recently become the proud possessor of a new computer, sooner or later you’ll have to figure out something to do with your old computer. You did remember to copy all the useful information from that old computer, didn’t you? Did you also remember to withdraw that same computer from limited installation programs or online services – like Adobe Photoshop Elements, iTunes, Office 365 and others?

By this time, we’ve all learned that older doesn’t mean useless. If the aging computer is less than 5 years old, it may make sense to repurpose rather than recycle it. If you are one of the owners of the remaining 650,000,000 Windows XP computers, please note that your PC is at least 6 years old! XP was first sold in 2001. Refurbishers will usually reject computers more than 5 years old.

Older computers can function as a media center or digital video recorder if you add a TV tuner. It isn’t difficult to set up an older computer as a digital photoframe to display continuous slideshows of your memories. If you have wanted to test some new software or try some simple computers repairs, why not give it a try? You may want to reuse at least some parts of your old system. Modems, routers and printers will frequently work with a new computer. Most new computers can utilize a second monitor.

If you can’t use the decommissioned device, perhaps someone else can. If you will no longer have control of the computer, it is advisable to remove all personal information. Apple instructs users to reinstall the operating system with one of three secure erase options. OS X Lion or older versions con do this with the install DVD, while more recent versions can utilize the restore partition. Windows users can similarly reinstall the operating system via a DVD or restore partition and remove personal data, but a secure erase option is not offered. This option might be suitable only if the recipient is a trusted relative or friend. If you want a more secure solution, a search for “free data destruction programs” will reveal several dozen programs. DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) is currently considered the best free data destruction program available; used properly, absolutely everything is removed from the hard drive. Removing the hard drive and drilling a half dozen holes through it will also make the data irretrievable.

The Golden Goose will accept computers up to 5 years old for refurbishing. The Computers for Kids program, formerly available in Sun City Vistoso, is no longer in operation. The closest refurbishing center (hard drives wiped) is RISE, located at 1134 S. Park Avenue in Tucson. The Pima recycling center in Catalina will accept electronics at a fee of $10 per item for non-residents. Many electronics dealers will accept old computers from current customers. Staples (6 items per day, no drive wiping offered) and Best Buy (3 items per day, $10 to wipe hard drive) will accept electronics for recycling from anyone.