What to do with your old computer
Recently a friend offered me his old computer while I was setting up a new computer for him. I first told him that I had no use for it; but by the time I had finished moving the entire contents of his old hard drive to his new computer I decided I had a place for his old computer. It was a 333 Mhz Celeron with 64 Megs PC100 RAM built in 1998.
Now you must be wondering why a guy with at least 6 computers needs another computer, never the less an old, outdated computer. Well let me tell you my story and maybe you'll suddenly find a need for your old computer.
I had an old computer built in 1996 by Packard Bell. It was a 100 Mhz machine with 8 megs of RAM, running Windows 95. I had upgraded it to its maximum, a Pentium 200 Mhz and 64 megs of RAM, installed Windows NT 4.0 Server on a 9 gig - 7500 RPM SCSI hard drive in 1999. I used this machine for several years as my Web Server, upgrading it to Window 2000 Advanced Server later on. It performed flawlessly as a Web Server for several years. A Web Server does not use much CPU or RAM, but does need to access the hard drive quickly - this is where the SCSI came in.
This old 1996 Packard Bell machine uses EDO RAM, and can only see up to 16 Megs in a RAM slot. It can only see an 8 Gig hard drive, making it quite limited for usage today.
After retiring it from a Web Server I used it for repairing other client's computers. How you ask? Well, if someone had a virus, I would install their hard drive as a Slave drive on this machine and then remove the virus. The virus on their hard drive is never loaded into memory so this system makes it easy to replace the affected files. I also used it when someone wanted a new hard drive . I installed their old hard drive and new hard drive as a secondary master and slave and then copied their files to the new hard drive. This is not what you need to save your old computer for!
Anyway, after getting my friend's old computer which did not have the limitations mine did, I replaced the 1996 machine with his. I stripped out the few parts from my old machine that could be used on a newer computer; the PCI network card, SCSI card and drive, and floppy. The old 16x CDROM was not worth saving. I then carried it out to the garbage, came back into the office, checked that my firewall was running and got on the Internet. Bang!! It hit me! I have a need for that old computer. I jumped up and ran outside and grabbed it out of the garbage.
Now, here is what this story is all about, but you needed to understand how old this computer really was.
I re-assembled the computer, but instead of using the SCSI, I installed an old 6 gig , 5400 RPM IDE hard drive and installed Windows 98 SE because it will be faster then Windows XP. I then installed Zone Alarm and WinSafe, nothing else. A lean, mean machine, right, 200 Mhz and 64 megs of RAM. This is really more than what Windows 98 requires.
I bet your asking yourself what is he going to do with this now. I am going to use it to access the Internet and surf without worry. I did not network it to any other computer, just my DSL. The slowest part of this machine is going to be the DSL. The CPU and hard drive can handle all that they have to, faster than the DSL can supply pages. Now the best part is there is no other information on this machine : no stored passwords, no private user files, not even my name. The machine name is "Your Guess" and the user name is "Unknown", I even assigned a work group with the name "FindMe".
Now , when I am on the Internet and some site wants to sneak a program, like spyware, onto my machine to send back information, they get nothing. If Zone Alarm allows any information to get out, they will know my computer name, user name, and that I have Windows 98, and what else? Nothing, cause there is nothing on the machine.
This is the best firewall I have, if they want to put a virus on the machine, who cares, I'll format and lose nothing. If the hackers want to spend all there time breaking in , I'll send them an Instant Message that will say HA, HA , I'm formatting, Bye!
No more updates, no more worries. Who needs security, I got piece of mind, and just think of the money I'll save on security programs.
If you don't think this system is for you, our next newsletter will discuss how to protect your computer, your personnel information and passwords from hackers.