Every year there is a cycle of release of brand-new personal computers with newer CPUs and graphics.

To keep up with the latest hardware we ought to buy brand new computers. Laptops and PCs are good for a solid 5 years for regular usage and 2-3 years for power users.

But what about your old computers? You could resell them, but maybe you want a extra PC laying around for other work, but don't want to spend more on a new computer.

An easy way is to clean up your old computer and use it as such, it's effective and cheap.

Here's a small guide on how you can do so:

Guide to upcycling:

This guide is mainly for two kinds of computers:

Note if your old computer is a Mac, this guide may not be applicable as Mac parts are non-replaceable. You might need to seek a professional technician to assist you.

List of Up-cycling Tasks:

Various tasks to look at when trying to up-cycle your old computer:

Physical Cleaning:

Most obviously you want to dust off your device a bit. Cleaning up your system can help reduce heat retention in the device and help make it run a bit faster and longer.

dusting off the components inside.

External cleaning can be done with a Dry cloth and some isopropyl alcohol.

Additionally, do not be tempted to use water, this can aid corrosion and possibly damage electronics with moisture.

As for internal cleaning, you will need some kind of duster, A plain dry paintbrush might do, canned air is probably better as you won't need to touch the electronics unnecessarily. However, note that each one has its disadvantages such as cleaning power and the ability to reach every nook and corner of the inside.

Other requirements include:

You can get a simple repair kit for opening up your electronics from ifixit.

Cleaning it is as simple as opening it up and using your duster to clean our retaining dust.

Added, if you are technically capable enough, you could also replace the internal thermal paste, which is a substance used to facilitate the heat transfer between components and thermal system.

If your computer is older than 2 years, it is highly advisable to do this, or get it done by a professional technician. Old thermal paste can become dry and cakey and lead to overheating issues.

Upgrading of components:

Depending on whether you have a laptop or a desktop, your upgradability can vary.

Laptops and Mini PCs mostly have soldered components, meaning they might not be replaceable. Typically, the more replaceable components would include the RAM and Storage.

Having a battery replacement might also be the way to go, to give your old computer an extra lease of life.

Check with your manufacturer's website or check iFixit: The Free Repair Manual for more info about your device.

An example of a laptop disassembly guide.

Desktops are usually much more upgradeable, as you can change everything from the CPU, the GPU, RAM, Storage and every other kind of component easily.

Typically, if you have an old system that's older than say 3 years, consider replacing the Storage and add more RAM, if possible, as these can help your device keep up with more modern demanding software.

If you feel your CPU is getting slower, you can upgrade it and make sure your motherboard and other components are compatible.

You can take a look at buildmypc to check your components.

PC building part picker.

Updating Software:

An important thing with old hardware is trying to get new software that has more features and optimizations compared to old versions.

Updating core drivers and software helps with system speed and stability.

But keep in mind, the newer the software releases, the more it is made for newer hardware in mind.

Things like OS driver updates etc. aid with stability and speed and help with battery life too.

If you have an older computer that you want to use for something more dedicated, you could go with a factory reset. This will clean the computer of all unnecessary things and keep it snappy.

If your computer feels sluggish, A new SSD with a fresh OS install will make it much faster.

Wrapping it up:

Overall, it's completely possible to make use of your older computers by freshening them up with some software and hardware upgrades.

If you feel like you might not be technically proficient enough to do it on your own, consider giving it to a technician who might do everything needed for you without the hassle.

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