PDA

View Full Version : My MS Windows PC has worn out...what's it like where you live?



SteveDee
December 23rd, 2011, 01:02 PM
Here in the sunny south east of England I reckon the typical Windows pc user is happy to throw away their computer every 3 or 4 years and get a new one ("...well, its old and worn out...takes ages to do anything...").

Its rather sad that a common view is that a computer (largely solid-state) wears out, rather like a car, and so no longer runs as fast, and must be thrown away....just make sure they throw it in your direction! Who can't use another pc for Linux testing or experimentation?

For me, computers have also moved into the same category as cars: I don't buy new, its either a second-hand purchase or rescuing a throw-out. (although my birthday present this year was a second-hand Dell D600 costing 150...such decadence!)

In 2010 I visited India, and was impressed by the way everything seems to be re-cycled. Although the continent has the largest middle class population in the world, the less fortunate almost fight one another for the right to your rubbish. Re-cycling appears to be one of their biggest industries.

So, what's it like where you live?

Copper Bezel
December 23rd, 2011, 01:12 PM
Honestly, I don't expect it's that strongly geographical. Most of the people I talk to are Windows users of intermediate to middling tech savvy, but not financially any more able than me to be the kind of iconic, wasteful consumers our corporate overlords would like. If the iron still runs, it still runs, through how ever many reinstalls are needed.

F.G.
December 23rd, 2011, 01:18 PM
i live in the cloudy south-east of England (i dream of living in the sunny one). and i too received a second-hand tower for christmas from my brother, so that i might rescue it from the scrap heap. happy days, a new computer!

wyliecoyoteuk
December 23rd, 2011, 02:10 PM
I live in the currently very rainy Midlands of the UK.
Despite writing for various computer magazines,(mainly, but not always, about Linux) my hardware is definitely "behind the curve".
None of our PCs at home run Windows, apart from a Lab unit used for the odd occasion when I am asked to write about a Windows application.
In fact my wife has the newest PC in the house, since we discovered that her 8 year old shuttle running Ubuntu was unable to play Angry Birds properly.
Despite that it still fetched 50 on Fleabay.:)

Any hardware less than about 4 years old should be able to run most everyday applications without much trouble, even on Windows.

Linuxratty
December 23rd, 2011, 02:23 PM
All but one of my 'puters have been hand me downs..I like to recycle things when I can. Slap Linux on a 'puter and it can plug away for years.

SteveDee
December 23rd, 2011, 03:15 PM
...Any hardware less than about 4 years old should be able to run most everyday applications without much trouble, even on Windows.

Absolutely right! But the Market seems to encourage the view that computers naturally slow down with age. Unfortunately Windows does suffer from this, and users are amazed when we re-image their computers and they run as fast as when they were new.

keithpeter
December 23rd, 2011, 04:31 PM
Hello All

Just drying out after walking up the road in the very very wet West Midlands, UK.


Slap Linux on a 'puter and it can plug away for years.

Linuxratty speaks the truth.

Typing this on the four year old desktop PC (dual core, AMD, 2Gb RAM) and it can do all of what I chuck at it. Inkscape screen re-draws a bit clunky when you get past a few layers...

My employers have started using Citrix thin terminal type computers in the open access areas where students can surf and chobble their pasties. Another way of keeping hardware costs down.

saneearth
December 23rd, 2011, 05:32 PM
Probably the biggest issue I have with customers is letting them know that computers don't really slow down because they are wearing out. Other than the hard drive there are no moving parts to wear. Things go bad and can be replaced if need be, but most of the issue is a lack of users knowing how to maintain their computer's OS (of course Windows primarily). Most users that think they need a new computer that is not very old in the first place are running Windows and don't know how to clean up the OS.

SteveDee
December 23rd, 2011, 06:13 PM
...my employers have started using Citrix thin terminal type computers...another way of keeping hardware costs down.

Yeah, we are extending the life of our school computers by converting them to thin clients. We've just shut down Citrix in favour of MS Remote Desktop, and are running a mixture of thin clients using HP ThinState (Linux), ThinStation (Linux) and Lubuntu (er...Linux).

One of the big problems is old laptops. When the batteries fail, does it make sense to buy new batteries? Given the cost of some batteries and the fact that the laptop may only last another 6 months (e.g. displays, touchpads & keyboards seem to fail eventually) its a tough decision.

jjex22
December 23rd, 2011, 06:23 PM
Probably the biggest issue I have with customers is letting them know that computers don't really slow down because they are wearing out. Other than the hard drive there are no moving parts to wear. Things go bad and can be replaced if need be, but most of the issue is a lack of users knowing how to maintain their computer's OS (of course Windows primarily). Most users that think they need a new computer that is not very old in the first place are running Windows and don't know how to clean up the OS.


To be honest, I've had this problem with my own parents for years - all they use their computer for is storing holiday photos, sending the odd email, keeping financial records and ordering books off amazon, yet every time it starts to slow down it's assumed it's "on it's way out" after a heated debate about not spending 700 to replace a 4 year old machine this summer I spent an afternoon at theirs and 100 on a *new* processor and RAM; I just told them it was like giving a car an oil change!

It's not allways a bad thing, while I was living in devon, the local tip let you buy things such as old PCs that people were chucking out - It's where I got my eMac from when I went to Uni - circa 2005; I had an old orange imac at the time, but needed a new keyboard, visited the tip "shop" where they insisted I bought the emac as well as the keyboard for 25! absolute bargain, I figured the screen had probably gone, or it had been gutted but it ran fine, the only weird thing was that someone physically cut the plug off the power cable?! so the cable is 6" shorter with a black plug on the end! it still runs today, though I've upped the RAM, HDD, Airport and OC'd the G4 ... probably at a cost 4x what I paid!

To be honest I kind of think the throw away attitude will start to lesson, partly as people get more used to it, but also modern PC's are so over powered for the basic average user that they will run a lot longer than they used to before the latest version of windows won't run anymore. However I don't see any change in the apple world - it's the image thing; gotta have the latest, plus apple's tendancy to drop support for your hard ware avery 5 years - either run an old version or upgrade :(

mips
December 24th, 2011, 09:29 AM
(although my birthday present this year was a second-hand Dell D600 costing 150...such decadence!)


That actually sounds a wee bit expensive for a machine from 2003.

SteveDee
December 24th, 2011, 10:29 AM
...sounds a wee bit expensive for a machine from 2003.

I thought the D600 was introduced in 2001, but either way, I'm hoping this particular specimen is a bit more recent.

I think it was 130 + 20 for extra RAM. I've also spent another 16 on a new battery, and I put in a larger HDD that I had salvaged from my previous Dell (which I was given...'cos it was too slow).

I'm now looking forward to Raspberry Pi (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9504208.stm) which may induce me to spend 22 on a NEW computer!

guyver_dio
December 24th, 2011, 12:54 PM
I live in Australia, I guess it'd be like america, very wasteful. People chuck out older but still working devices just to get the latest.

However I build all my computers, any part that is still working is still in use, I don't chuck away anything that works. When I build a new computer some of the parts in the old one will migrate to the new one (depending on what I'm upgrading), and the rest will get shelved until someone in the family is needing a computer and buys the remaining parts to put it back together. My dad has a frankenstein pc made out of a few of my older computers. It's also handy for when parts break, like say if the video card dies, I'll have an older one in a box somewhere that can be used until I get the money to replace it.

I'm also a tinkerer, so I'd have fun playing around on any system, new or old. I reckon it'd be great to get an old pc (like maybe mid 90s) and see how far you can push it (get an ultra light distro and tweak the **** out of it). I have an old HP somewhere that my uncle threw away years ago that had something like 128mb of sd ram, but I'm pretty sure I harvested some parts out of it. Would have been a good challenge.

cprofitt
December 24th, 2011, 02:04 PM
I buy or build new, but I keep computers for 8-10 years.

V for Vincent
December 24th, 2011, 03:54 PM
I just told them it was like giving a car an oil change!

I like that. I'm amazed at how people (even young and intelligent people) always assume their entire system is useless. I bought my own desktop about 5.5 years ago and it's perfectly usable. I use my resources quite economically, so the original 1GB worth of RAM is enough for just about everything I do with it.