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EOL desktops.

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February 1, 2012 8:18:38 PM

Hello to the forum.

I have found myself trying to help people with PC problems a great deal recently and came up with the idea of recycling End-of-Life desktops for people to use. Essentially, if I can fix a PC, I'll do it. If not, I offer advise on a new one and ask them to donate to the EOL program.

I do not make any money out of it.


In the last month I have found needy homes for a few systems and even a laptop (which I know nothing about).

However.....I have a few frustrations.

1. OSs - why is it nobody seems to sell old pre-used XP/vista disks (like on auction sites) when MOST of the desktops I look at simply need a rebuild/clean install. These people own a license (it's on the case more often than not) but I can't help them without disks. I'd like to BUY a disk for XP and Vista but none are for sale?....and no, I'm not buying a new one.... :??: 

2. Why is it the worst PCs seem to be the ones with the expensive "paid-for" anti virus.....am I missing something......

3. Sometimes when I mix and match old hardware (like at the weekend I tried to put a Radeon Card on an MSI board), it simply won't work.
or even certain drives seem to not work on certain machines. I tried to use WD drive on a build the other day and it didn't work, yet a Maxtor worked straight away.

please help.

Also, if anyone has ideas about where to draw the line (in terms of age of parts) I'd be interested. I'll fix anything than can take 1gb RAM, even if it's a single core.

thanks

More about : eol desktops

a b B Homebuilt system
February 1, 2012 8:33:17 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/35396-63-windows Read that topic of mine and it may make more sense on about the os. As for the antivirus? Is it funner to break an egg or a safe? Those get hit the most and the hardest as its a hackers way of showing off. Some video cards are 2.o or 2.1 and some pci express boards do not like or accept them (mainly the pci express 1.0 although its rare it does happen).
February 1, 2012 10:15:34 PM

I personally like to re use older PCs especially when it is for someone in need as you are doing.

As for the OS issue, I personally just built up a collection. You can slipstream an old OEM disc of Windows XP to SP3 if you can get 1. You can use the OEM SP3 disc to do clean installs using the CD-Key you find on the tower/laptops, as long as they still have the OEM mobo I haven't had many issues, just have to download the drivers off the support site for each model usually which is rather easy. The process of slipstreaming a disc to SP3 is rather interesting, though not exactly simple, here is a link I had saved that might help if you find an older OEM disc:
http://helpwithwindows.com/WindowsXP/Slipstreaming_Wind...

Vista/Windows 7 on the other hand use a new install.wim file that actually includes all versions of the OS on the disc which is really nice. If you have built any windows 7 PCs for customers/friends and happen to have an OEM disc lying around you can remove ei.cfg which will allow you to get to the screen that let's you pick the version to install (By default it will default to whatever version your disc was for and won't let you see the screen). No this is not wrong to do, you still require a valid license key to activate this is simply a tech tool, here is some information on doing this:
http://lifehacker.com/5438005/eicfg-removal-utility-let...

Far as where I draw the line on hardware, it depends on what I have found and if I know of anyone in need at the time. Typically I like at least 1GB ram for XP, 2GB for vista/windows 7. I did re-use an older thinkpad laptop with XP and 512mb ram this year though, just have to make sure the startup programs are well controlled and can even lower some UI graphic capabilities to make it seem faster.

Besides a clean install, I usually try to install some basic items to help the users out. Things like microsoft security essentials for security, open office (now libreoffice) and typically chrome or firefox (adblock addon for sure lol). That really covers the free basic essentials for most users. Update: Just remembered I also usually make sure they have the newest flash install and PDF reader, the web basics for most people so they don't run into issues.

Hope this has been some help.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 1, 2012 10:20:58 PM

A side note if you are doing this for friends and relatives download and install ubunta a linux os that is 100% free to use and install. It will easilly let them search the web and such and plays some games and such just an alternative to try.
February 1, 2012 10:59:46 PM

Well you say you can't fix it but donate it to you free? Then you fix it. Sounds deceptive to me.

As long as you have a collection of Windows disks laying around or internet access you can install Windows with the original product key.
February 2, 2012 12:24:31 AM

I was thinking the same thing at first read, but if you really think about it and realize he is trying to help people I believe what he means if if he can't fix their PC or they simply don't want to pay for a replacement part and would prefer getting a new PC, they can donate the old one basically for parts, at which point he can take a couple non-working systems and make something that works.

When you look at it like that, not only is it helping people but it also helps him get experience working on systems, which are the main reasons that I personally do something similar. A lot of people don't want to replace a PSU or HDD on a 3-5+ year old PC when they feel they can just go out and buy a new updated one and honestly I am always getting offers for old PCs for similar reasons. He might want to edit his initial post to better reflect his intentions though :) 
February 2, 2012 7:26:14 AM

mryoink said:
I was thinking the same thing at first read, but if you really think about it and realize he is trying to help people I believe what he means if if he can't fix their PC or they simply don't want to pay for a replacement part and would prefer getting a new PC, they can donate the old one basically for parts, at which point he can take a couple non-working systems and make something that works.

When you look at it like that, not only is it helping people but it also helps him get experience working on systems, which are the main reasons that I personally do something similar. A lot of people don't want to replace a PSU or HDD on a 3-5+ year old PC when they feel they can just go out and buy a new updated one and honestly I am always getting offers for old PCs for similar reasons. He might want to edit his initial post to better reflect his intentions though :) 


Thank you. I appreciate your post, because you get the exact nature of what I do. I rebuild systems from usable parts. I get to help people and get the experience in one go. There is nothing underhand about it. If I visit a friend of a friend who happens to have to have a $50 sound card, I'll explain they can put it in the new PC if they want. A lot of people consider a 3-5 y.o. PC too old to fix. I agree, there are plenty of folk running 5 y.o. rigs who will happily give it away. What most vanilla internet users don't get it their PC doesn't need i3/5/7 or GTX gpu.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 2, 2012 7:42:52 AM

My feeling is, when you're dealing with a super-old system, there are only three things people are going to use it for (or CAN use it for effectively), and those three things are typing, music, and the internet.

In that case, you're way better off installing Ubuntu or Linux Mint, because 1) it's free, 2) there are less worries about things like viruses and spyware, and 3) you don't have to deal with all that horrible licensing and updating crap. For that kind of thing, it'll get the job done, and who knows, they may learn a thing or two about computers in the process.
February 2, 2012 3:05:20 PM

capt_taco said:
My feeling is, when you're dealing with a super-old system, there are only three things people are going to use it for (or CAN use it for effectively), and those three things are typing, music, and the internet.

In that case, you're way better off installing Ubuntu or Linux Mint, because 1) it's free, 2) there are less worries about things like viruses and spyware, and 3) you don't have to deal with all that horrible licensing and updating crap. For that kind of thing, it'll get the job done, and who knows, they may learn a thing or two about computers in the process.


I agree capt. 100% with you.
I did a Ubuntu Meerkat for someone about a year ago, and it's going very well.
However, if windows is available for me to use, I do use it. I guess that's why I was interested in where to draw the line with old systems.
February 2, 2012 3:17:14 PM

zolton33 said:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/35396-63-windows Read that topic of mine and it may make more sense on about the os. As for the antivirus? Is it funner to break an egg or a safe? Those get hit the most and the hardest as its a hackers way of showing off. Some video cards are 2.o or 2.1 and some pci express boards do not like or accept them (mainly the pci express 1.0 although its rare it does happen).


Fascinating....some heated discussion on this one.

To me, a broken motherboard is a broken motherboard and I don't try to salvage the unit. It becomes a question of what is worth keeping.
I use OEM disks for my own PCs and the price I pay for saving money at the outset is to lose the disk cost should the motherboard fail.

Interesting on viruses. I guess I need to learn more generally about them.

a b B Homebuilt system
February 2, 2012 5:26:25 PM

davidjuk said:
Fascinating....some heated discussion on this one.

To me, a broken motherboard is a broken motherboard and I don't try to salvage the unit. It becomes a question of what is worth keeping.
I use OEM disks for my own PCs and the price I pay for saving money at the outset is to lose the disk cost should the motherboard fail.

Interesting on viruses. I guess I need to learn more generally about them.



Lol you get hit by enough of them you learn fast. Whats funny is that microsoft had classified do it yourself as a system builder. But then changed their minds. Now they tie your key to your motherboard. If you replace it with a different one they do not have to activate that version of windows (although one person in my topic claimed they did i do not know for sure if they will or not i guess it comes down to if you get lucky). So unless microsoft changes their position i suggest new builds to buy the full version (I'm unsure if the upgrade from windows xp or vista to windows 7 is classified as the full version or not)
February 2, 2012 6:40:48 PM

zolton33 said:
So unless microsoft changes their position i suggest new builds to buy the full version (I'm unsure if the upgrade from windows xp or vista to windows 7 is classified as the full version or not)


Interesting point.

I have to admit to being rather confused.

By using OEM disks, I don't even try to re-use the O/S, it's gone if the motherboard is not working.
If I use full retail, I can use the disk to install the O/S on a new (replacement) PC and then what? use the original product key OR pay for another license.
So, do I have to convince microsoft that the the old PC has been dismantled and the HDD wiped?

In the UK, OEM is £75 and retail about £115. So it's a £40 gamble really isn't it.
February 2, 2012 6:49:40 PM

The BIG question for me though is this;

How to get Vista disk? I have XP/2/3 and 7 but no Vista.

If I could get a copy of Vista (32) could I help people do a fresh (clean) install for them and use the license key on their computer case?

I only ask, as I'm trying to help a lady with a laptop. The HDD is very bad (Chkdsk seem to have a lot to do). I'd like to fit a new HDD and reinstall all her programs etc. BUT I can't.....she never made rescue disks.....
a b B Homebuilt system
February 2, 2012 8:14:05 PM

davidjuk said:
The BIG question for me though is this;

How to get Vista disk? I have XP/2/3 and 7 but no Vista.

If I could get a copy of Vista (32) could I help people do a fresh (clean) install for them and use the license key on their computer case?

I only ask, as I'm trying to help a lady with a laptop. The HDD is very bad (Chkdsk seem to have a lot to do). I'd like to fit a new HDD and reinstall all her programs etc. BUT I can't.....she never made rescue disks.....

You can find a copy online to buy i'm sure whether its new or not though is any ones guess.

As for the oem license don't feel bad we are all confused. Especially since there are 2 different ones the first is the royalty oem from the big pc companies that do not even use the key put on the machine to get windows installed and activated (many people found this out and started using cd keys from electronic stores for pirated windows) >_< Then you have the regular oem That comes with a key that must be entered to install. And they each have different terms so how is that equal?
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