Upgrading old computers

Below I have created a check list when you are considering getting a new computer. Please note that one or two of the items below could be an indicator to get a new computer. An example: You have less than 1GB of memory and only one core.

What to check before you consider upgrading your old computer to a new operating system:

  1. How old is your computer?
    1. If it is running Windows XP or anything older than that, please go an buy a new computer.
    2. If you have Vista or newer, please continue.
  2. Check how many cores the computer have and the speed of the CPU. Open Task manager and see if there are two bars showing the cpu/processor.
    1. Only one bar? The computer might be worth keeping, but only for document editing or surfing.
    2. Two bars! Good sign, you should be able to use this if you have 2GB or more of memory.
    3. Four or more! You are good to go. Check memory and speed of your CPU.
  3. Check how much memory you have. In Task manager you can see that on the left side below the CPU bar.
    1. Less than 2GB you should look at getting more or it is a sign to get a new computer.
    2. 4GB is what I recommend as a minimum for modern computers. If you are using Linux you need less.
    3. 8GB or more for graphic design, gaming or other memory intensive uses.
  4. Use Crystaldiskinfo to check the health of your hard drive. To check the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive is no guarantee that your hard drive is completely fine, but it will normally give you an indication. I have however seen cases where cloning the hard drive has shown errors.
    1. If it shows up orange or red, make a backup of all your data and buy a new hard drive or computer.
    2. Blue is a good sign. That means that the hard drive should be good to go.
  5. How many USB connectors do you have in the back of the computer?
    1. 2 is a minimum. The more the better. On most laptops you might have 3. But they are meant for moving around. You can get a USB hub to get more ports.
  6. What is the type and model of your graphic card? Is it built-in to the motherboard or a separate card? Do you have an unused Express x1/x4/x8/x16 slot in case you need to upgrade?
  7. Do you have a DVD-drive in your computer?

There will not be any guarantee that an upgrade will work even after testing/confirming the above.  There are a couple of motherboards as an example, that will not allow you to upgrade to Windows 7/8/8.1 without creating a special DVD.

Your old computer might work fine with Linux Mint which will function fine for Internet browsing and writing letters. Check that you have about 1GB of memory, burn a DVD with the ISO, insert it in the computer and give it a try.