The push for disposable computers

The push for disposable computers in today’s world is a sad fact of life.  More and more computers are being designed as closed systems where you can’t open them and replace or upgrade parts.  For example, as much as I like Microsoft’s Surface, there is no way to open the computer and replace a faulty part.  When my battery went bad I had to replace the entire unit despite the fact that the computer was working just fine save for that one component.

hardware computer desktop recycle industry

I really don’t like this, and it seems at odds with the goal of creating more sustainable and green industry.  The fact that everyone buys new phones and throws out their old ones is bad enough.  But at least with PCs you generally had the option to upgrade parts. 

When I upgraded my video editing desktop computer I purchased new parts – a new motherboard, a new video card, new memory, and new hard disks.  I recycled the case and the other components such as fans and power supply.  I did not need a new monitor, although I bought a new keyboard because the fake rubber material on mine began to degrade.

I sold the old components on Ebay, likely to bitcoin miners looking to run harvesting machines.

If you want to get some more life out of your computer before throwing it out, then you might want to look into a few software solutions designed to help you tune up and clean up your Windows operating system.  Getting rid of temporary files and upgrading drivers can have a massive impact on the performance of a PC.  Many people don’t even know these options exist – the average computer user has no clue what a driver is or why they might need to upgrade.  Having a well operating PC shouldn’t only be for nerds and tech geeks. 

Although Microsoft has come a long way in ensuring that Windows is upgraded automatically (including drivers) it’s not always perfect.  For example, temporary files and memory dumps can end up taking up lots and lots of hard disk space.  On smaller solid state drives this can be negative.

One of the best software tools we’ve reviewed lately is Advanced System Repair Pro.  This software tool is easy to use yet detailed enough to enable us to give it a pretty high rating.  It doesn’t just sweep files without telling you what they are first (a la CCleaner).  It really gives you a detailed account of what it’s going to do and why.

Although we don’t recommend cleaning out the registry anymore, we definitely recommend updating the drivers and ensuring that your computer is clean of any malware and adware.  If you can, we suggest upgrading your system memory.  But in closed systems sometimes your only option is to retune your computer.  This is the second best way to go besides just reinstalling Windows and starting from scratch.

If you can continue to use what components you have before buying something new, I would suggest to do so.  But if you are going to buy a new computer, consider donating your current one to a student in need.