Your Old Computer to Your New Computer
If your main reason
for buying a new computer is to replace an older computer,
consider what really needs replacing. Quite a bit of the older
computer's hardware may find a home inside or alongside the new
computer. It all depends on the shape of the older system's
component. The following sections illuminate what can, might,
and shouldn't be moved to the new system.
If your early computer
is older than four years, then there's probably no hardware in
the thing that would serve the new computer well.
- If you've purchased any new
peripherals or monitors for the older system, then they
might be able to be passed on to the new system. Refer to
the following sections.
- So the hardware is crummy . . .
but don't forget your data and software! That you'll likely
want to transfer.
- Honestly, computers never really
go out of date as long as they work. The new computers are
faster, but given the choice between using an old clunky IBM
PC/AT with WordPerfect 4.2 or a typewriter, I'd take the old
clunky PC any day of the week.
Monitors tend to fade
and fuzz out with time. If your older computer's monitor is
doing well, you can consider moving it over to your new
computer. Not buying a monitor can shave a few hundred dollars —
or more, depending on the type of monitor you presently have —
from the new computer's purchase price.
- As long as the monitor is in
good shape, use it!
- Moving an older PC or Mac
monitor to a new system can even save you money; there's no
need to buy a new monitor when you can reuse your older
- Even if you already have a
monitor for your new computer, you can add the second
monitor to the system. PCs running Windows 98 and all
Macintoshes (but not iMacs) can easily have two monitors
installed. (You may need a second video adapter, though.)
Removing older hard
drives and installing them into new computers is not a good
idea. The hard drive is one of the first things to go on an
older system, so relying on it for a new computer would be
risky. Even installing the older hard drive as a "backup" is
questionable. No, you're better off just getting the information
from the hard drive and using a newer unit.
External disk drives
can easily be moved to a new computer, simply by plugging them
in. Always make sure you have the original installation disks,
which helps the new computer recognize your older hardware.
Some internal disk
drives, CD-ROMs, or maybe a new DVD or CD-R you added can be
moved over to the new system no problem. Again, remember the
original software installation disk so that the operating system
recognizes the new hardware.
Memory is something
you generally cannot move from computer to computer. The reason
is that older memory is probably a lot "fatter" than your new
computer can handle. "Fatter" means the memory is probably of
lower capacity and slower speed; a new computer probably needs
higher capacity memory (say 64MB versus 16MB SIMMS) and faster
access times. No, moving over memory is a waste of time.
Some expansion cards
may work in the newer system; some may not. The best advice is
that if you've recently purchased the expansion card for the
older system and it offers some feature the newer system
lacks, then consider the move.
As an example, suppose
you just bought a USB expansion card for your old PC and the new
PC also lacks USB ports. Then moving over the old USB expansion
card could be a good move. Ditto for newer network cards and
- You'll have the best success
moving plug-and-play expansion cards to a new system.
- PCI and AGP cards are the best
candidates for transfer to a new computer.
- Also worthwhile are specialty
cards: video input cards for any video editing software you
own, sound synthesis, and special waveform cards, as well as
anything else you need with your software.
The easiest thing to
move from an older computer to a newer model is a printer. This
makes total sense: There's no point in buying a whole new
printer just because you have a new computer. As long as the
printer is working just fine, keep it!
- You might need a new printer
cable. For example, new Macintoshes require USB printers, so
a USB-to-Mac Printer adapter would be in order.
- Don't forget your printer's
original software disk! You may need it to install the
software drivers for the new computer.
Just about all the new Motherboards come with
Network cards today. so chances are you will not need your old
one in the new computer- but should you have the need feel
Providing that the new
computer doesn't come with a modem and that your old computer's
modem is fast enough for you, yes you can move it over.
External modems are,
obviously, easier to install on a new computer than internal
modems. In fact, some internal modems are a real mess to
install. And if you have any trouble installing the old internal
modem, consider buying a newer model and save yourself some
Peripherals can easily
be moved from an old computer to a newer model.
Scanners can also be
passed from computer to computer, as can most other peripherals.
Providing there is always a way to connect the device to the
computer and that you still have the software and installation
manuals, reinstalling the peripheral for the new system is a
- No, there is no reason to buy a
new scanner for a new computer if your old scanner works
- This peripheral keeping and
sharing will become even more popular as USB devices take
over the world.
- As you get more adept at using
and upgrading computers, you may find yourself ordering the
bare minimum when you buy. Just transplant your favorite
items from the old system to the new model and you're off
and running in no time!