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Don't Bin that Old PC - Keep it as a Backup

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 6/3/2009

Don't be too quick to ditch that old PC in favor of your new one. You just might have a problem that requires the help of another computer, and you'll sure miss that old clunker when you need it.

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    Your Old PC

    Getting a new computer is always an exciting thing, but it often leaves one pondering what to do with their old computer. This article is part of series found exclusively here on Bright Hub where I look at the pros and cons of keeping versus getting rid of your old PC, and I will look at it from both a hardware and software perspective. Like a great many of my PC support type articles, much of this one is based on personal experience.

    A friend of mine recently decided to treat himself to a new computer for Christmas. He found a good deal online and placed the order. Before his new PC came in, he boxed up his old one and gave it away to a relative. When that new computer finally arrived, it had a hardware problem that prevented it from working properly. A few emails and one trip to the post office later, he was able to get the company to refund his money so that he could buy another new PC. In the meantime, he was stuck without a computer for over three weeks.

    Had my friend hung on to his old PC, he obviously wouldn’t have been without a computer. Not only that, but he also would have had a spare PC to help run some diagnostic tests on his new one to try and figure out if it was something fixable before going through the hassle of sending it back to the company. Instead, he brought his new PC to work and offered to buy me lunch if I looked at it for him. I was the one who officially broke the bad news that his new computer was DOA.

    The moral of this story is that I think you should always keep a spare working computer on hand. Even if you don’t think you need it or won’t ever use it, I think it is always helpful to keep that old clunker somewhere just in case the need arises. My friend essentially counted his eggs before they were in the basket, and he ended up in trouble for it. Had he not been so eager to ditch the old PC, he would have at least still had something he could use while waiting for the matter with his new one to be resolved.

    What happened to my friend is a perfect example of why it is good to keep that old PC in case your wonderful new machine leaves you stranded if it has a problem. If your old PC was working before you decided to retire it, then chances are it will still work later on. I’ve seen plenty of new computers have all kinds of problems right out of the box, so you shouldn’t put too much trust in your new one until it has been broken in well and tested. Much in the same way printers tend to run out of ink the night before your big research paper is due, computers tend to break down at the most inopportune moments. For some people who do business with their PC, they could literally lose money when there’s computer trouble.

    Computers have a pretty horrible resale value, and you won’t get much for one unless it is only a year or two old. You could always donate the PC for the tax credit, but you’d be surprised how many places actually use those donated computers or will accept them. Beyond that, the computer is probably worth more to you that it is someone else. Instead of taking the hit and selling the old PC, why not just keep it as a spare? You never know when you might need it.

What To Do With Your Old Computer

Looking at it from a hardware perspective, I think it is important to keep an extra computer at your home or office in case there is a problem with the new one. You never know when that old machine might come in handy.
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