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  1. #1
    Bronze Lounger
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    Question How Can I Use an Old but Functioning Laptop?

    A little different question ... I have now transferred all key files and documents from our old (2007) HP laptop (running Windows Vista) to our new PC. The laptop still works and I'd like to see if there is a practical use for it in our small business. Giving it away makes me nervous because of all you read about wiped HD's not being truly wiped of confidential information; destroying it seems wasteful as it is working. Also seems silly to have it just sit here, as there are only 2 of us in the office.

    Currently, in terms of hardware, we have 1 Windows 7, SP1 PC; 1 laptop (same system), an external hard drive, about to be transferred from the old to the new laptop. PC is backed up online by Mozy and on external HDD with occasional image backups.

    Any suggestions? Realize this is a bit off the wall, but Loungers always seem to have answers, even to unusual questions!

    Thanks for any ideas or redirects,

    Linda

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    Not off the wall at all. I'm adverse to dumping older but functional machines as well. What's the nature of your business? That may help in offering suggestions. You could take the hard drive out and drill some holes in it and still give away the laptop. A drive isn't that expensive and many people would be thrilled to get a laptop for the cost of a hard drive. 2007 is not all that old. Lots of life in that machine yet.

    I can think of a couple of other ideas off hand. The first is use it as an .mp3 player. Load a lot of music on it, install Media Monkey, hook a nice set of speakers to it and let it play all day long at the office without repeats. It could double as a digital photo frame by using XNView or another program to create photo screen savers.

    More seriously, use it for network backups. Back up all your sensitive data to it, hang another USB drive off of it and make a second copy of all your data there. then rotate the USB drives between the office and a safety deposit box or home safe.
    Last edited by Doc Brown; 2011-11-08 at 15:29.
    Chuck

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    Quote Originally Posted by IreneLinda View Post
    A little different question ... I have now transferred all key files and documents from our old (2007) HP laptop (running Windows Vista) to our new PC. The laptop still works and I'd like to see if there is a practical use for it in our small business.
    Linda,
    Hello... do you have the original Vista disk? If not you could purchase them from the Mfgr.. i did that for my Vista OS from HP.. Don't remember , but it wasn't much..You then do a Format from a boot-able partition manager (free type) and re-install Vista like it was "spankin new" Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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    Doc Brown and Plain Fred,

    Oops. Actually, the HP laptop was purchased in Spring 2008. not 2007!

    Thanks for the suggestions. Re. your question re. nature of our business: in the midst of transitioning from instructor-led to web-based selling skills training - with a twist. So we do have a lot of content to keep safe and will have need for monitoring web site traffic, requests, emails, blogs and all the peripherals that will come with the new delivery method. Like all your ideas for uses, including a way to give it away minus its hard drive.

    Re. disc for Vista: Vista was an OEM installed system so no disc. Is new OS suggestion one to use if giving away machine? Is it another way to have no danger of confidential info getting into wrong hands? Or am I all wet on that and it's a way of cleaning out the machine totally and starting all over before implementing one or more of Doc Brown's ideas for use?

    Linda
    Last edited by IreneLinda; 2011-11-08 at 17:16.

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    What Fred said will make it all but impossible for anyone except data recovery experts with devices that cost more than ten thousand dollars to recover (and even then, only the fragments not written over). If you want to make the drive unrecoverable to the point of infinity, give it at least a 3 pass workover with DBAN prior to formatting and recovering to factory conditions. Then not even the CIA has a ghost of a chance to recover any data and you can re-purpose or be as charitable as you wish with complete confidence.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by IreneLinda View Post

    Re. disc for Vista: Vista was an OEM installed system so no disc.
    Linda,
    Hello... It does not matter, OEM you can still purchase the Disk set from HP for you PC, just give em a call. You can probably input a search for your model PC and link directly to the HP page ...and purchase the OEM disk for your PC ... you will need the PC id and serial # . Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  8. #7
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    2008 is not so old. The laptop could serve as a fully functional working backup.
    Clean install, decrapify, and tweak.
    Use as you would your main system with all the needed software utilized in your business.
    Keep it packed away safely, take it out once a month or two and update it, or use it on the road.

  9. #8
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    Okay. Understand all that. Guess the one reason I was sort of "off" the 2008 machine, was that it kept slowing down a LOT (despite following detailed instructions in a thread a few months back to clean it up by getting rid of a lot of stuff, especially from Start Up) and it has a different OS than the new PC and laptop (which have Windows 7). Still, having still another working computer is appealing and would be handy if both of us needed laptops on the road.

    Do I achieve the "clean install" Clint mentioned by Fred's method of buying the Vista disc from HP? And, remember, I'm no technical wizard so whatever I do has to be pretty easy to do! Decrapify I know means get rid of all the bloatware; tweak - that likely means get it working the way I want with the programs I need.

    Am I on the right track?

    Linda

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    Quote Originally Posted by IreneLinda View Post

    Do I achieve the "clean install"
    Linda,
    Hello ....
    1. The only way to start from the beginning, is with a disk ..or an "Image" created when you first turned on the PC. This all depends on your reasoning ..If you want a new PC without any old or personal "info" on it then do the "clean install" (as i and Infinicore have stated ) You will then have to re-do (install) all your software , updates , etc.

    2. If you don't care ... then just remove (delete) the things that you don't want and go from there. ...Hope this is of help...If not post back. Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

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    Thanks, Fred. My confusion arises from the fact that I started with the intention of cleaning off everything and finding other uses for the laptop. Once I heard that a 2008 computer could still have some life in it, I got onto a different track - should I be using it as a third machine?

    Your explanation is clear. We'll get together at this end and decide how we want to use it going forward; then, take the right track from there! So far, all that's been deleted are the documents and, unfortunately if we take track 2, all email addresses!

    Next time, I'll check here before doing anything with a more generic question like, "I have a 2008 HP laptop that has been replaced by a newer model. What should I do with it?" Somehow I had it in my head that the hard drive in a laptop gets iffy after the 3 year mark and could die, ergo, the upgrade.

    Linda

  12. #11
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IreneLinda View Post
    Somehow I had it in my head that the hard drive in a laptop gets iffy after the 3 year mark and could die, ergo, the upgrade.
    Linda
    Linda,

    That's an expensive mis-conception. I usually run my machines, both desktop and laptop, for 5 years or more and very seldom have any major hardware problems. Of course, there is always the exception and you could be it. Generally today's hardware is very robust in normal use and should last 5 years w/o a problem on average IMHO. YMMV
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  13. #12
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Somehow I had it in my head that the hard drive in a laptop gets iffy after the 3 year mark and could die, ergo, the upgrade.
    Yeah, that's false.

  14. #13
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    Aha! And, of course, my main info source was our tech contact at the store where we purchase our hardware! Hmmm?! Thanks for your input and I'll sure keep it in mind. Not only is buying new expensive, but setting it up and getting everything fully functional is very time consuming for a 2 person business!!

    Your answer also suggests I should clean up the original laptop and keep it functional and funcioning, much as jscher and Plain Fred suggested earlier in this thread. I'll do some more pondering ...

    Linda

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Linda, In addition to clean up your laptop, you might want to clean Up you laptop. (Not meaning a pun here). Your clean up is software, my clean up is the hardware. Laptops can accumulate dust, etc the same as desktops. A Google search shows many sites with suggestions.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  16. #15
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    Here is one point to ponder: backups and such things are getting bigger all the time it seems, and the benefit of external drives in some cases is questionable. You can use it for backup or data storage and transfer the data at network speed instead of USB.

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