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Do you have an older computer collecting dust or bogged down by everything you’re trying to run? Do you also have school-age kids who are hankering for their own system? Turning an old computer into the ideal system for your kids’ needs is easier –and cheaper--than you might think.
The Memory Experts at Crucial have a few ideas on how to do that.Kids' computing needs today reach well beyond Paint;computers are an inherent part of their lives. Kids will want or need computer for two things: playing games and doing homework. And it’s easy to take that older notebook or desktop system and create a perfect kid system. To do so, you’ll need to think about hardware, software applications, and security.Hardware:Fortunately, your kids won’t need much here. Unless they’re playing high-bandwidth games, older components should work just fine. We do recommend a RAM upgrade for older systems. It’s an inexpensive, easy way to boost system performance and add to an older system’s lifespan. Crucial has plenty of memory upgrades for older computers—you can find a compatible upgrade by using the Crucial System Scanner.For more specifics on hardware considerations, read our Kid-Friendly Hardware article.Software, security, and other applications.Once you have your system hardware in place, it’s time to think about software and applications.If you have original operating system installation disk, format the system and perform a clean install. Your kids won’t need the majority of what you’ve likely got on there – like Microsoft Excel, or the last eight years’ worth of tax returns, or your collection of family vacation photos. By now, you’ve saved or transferred everything important to a newer computer, so you can strip this one and pare it down.
After you re-install the OS, you’ll want appropriate anti-virus and anti-malware software and a stable browser. If you are running Microsoft Vista or Windows 7, we recommend Microsoft Security Essentials. For older an OS, we like AVAST, Avira, or AVG. A lot of malicious stuff can hide in what looks like kid-“friendly” Web sites, so an anti-malware is crucial. We like Malware Bytes. Most of these applications have a paid version and a free version; you can start with the free one and upgrade later if you see a need. Kids will find a lot of games and videos online– so any filtering/parental control software is pretty handy, too.Next, the kids will need their own version of productivity software. Fortunately, there are plenty of open source options that work great without costing you a penny.For kids of all ages, we like to start with Google Pack. Google Pack a free collection of essential software from Google and other trusted companies. It’s currently available for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. There’s also a Google Mac software page. The software in the Google Pack helps you browse the Web faster, remove spyware and viruses, organize your photos, and more. And you can rest assured these downloads wont’ screw up your system: the software has been verified free of unwanted extra programs or excessive notifications.Another tip? Get your kids started with Google Docs for their word processing. Not only is it free, but it’s set up for easy sharing, making it ideal for submitting assignments to a teacher, or engaging with fellow students in collaborative learning situations.For older kids who might be using photos or other images for school or fun, we like another free program: The GIMP. An acronym for the GNUImage Manipulation Program, this free software raster graphics editor is a great image retouching and editing tool and is freely available in versions for most popular OS options. Those older kids can also take advantage of Open Office for any productivity needs, including word processing and viewing PowerPoint presentations.
Just for fun
For more information on DRAM, go to our Knowledge Base library or our news and information page. For additional information on Crucial DRAM products, go to our product pages or support center. We have lots of videos for you to watch on our YouTube Channel. And if you’re ready to take the plunge, use the Crucial Memory Advisor or the Crucial System Scanner.