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Do I really need a new computer?

Over time as programs are installed and uninstalled your computer clutter builds up. This starts to affect performance. Regularly defragmenting your computer can improve matters. Sometimes you will need to reinstall your operating system. Sometimes you can upgrade your computer by adding larger, or faster things. However constraints mean that it can only be upgraded so far.

Do I really need the latest model?

What are you going to use this computer for? If it just word-processing, sending e-mails and surfing the internet the chances are that you will get a system that is far beyond what you need.

The only people who really require the latest kit is for people who make their computer sweat. People such as gamers, and people who do video editing. It might be possible upgrade your existing computer to allow you to keep on using it. It is also possible to pick up a second hand system fairly cheaply that will run Windows XP with no problems.

Do I really need a new keyboard / monitor / mouse?

You need a new computer, but what about the other components that go with it?

Unless your computer is more than 10 years old you can probably re-use all of your current kit. Insist on just buying the box.

The evils of package 'deals'

Package deals involve purchasing a bundle of items, such as a computer, speakers, keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, software. The biggest thing to watch for is the printer as it will usually be a low end one that they couldn't sell individually. The printer companies usually sell the the actual printer at a loss, as they are really in the business of selling printer toner.

The software usually has a lot of programs that you will never use, and didn't really want, and worst still these programs can sit in the background using resources and making your computer slower than it could be to do the stuff you do want to do. Companies pay the manufacturers to include software that expires after a time, and so you then have to pay later to continue to use it.

Why recycle?

80% of computers energy use is in manufacture, the technique also uses a lot of clean water, and raw materials, and produces toxic chemical waste. The countries where this waste is created usually have limited environmental concerns, and so indirectly we are causing problems.

The least we can do is to use these components as long as they are not obsolete.

Responsible disposal

Can your old computer or components be used by others? Some organisations will refurbish and redistribute older computers. However they will only usually accept models that are newer than 10 years old. Sometimes organisations who teach technician courses accept older computers in order to teach. Sometimes adverts appear in the Friday Ad. In the last few years flat screen monitors have greatly come down in price, generally they are better for the environment than the old style cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors.


IT4all are a local organisation (based in St Leonards) that will redistribute used computers for good use in the community. The minimum specification they'll take is a 500 MHz processor. Computers manufactured from 2000 onwards should be good enough.

Please phone first with details of equipment you wish to donate on (01424) 855 100 or email or

They are based at Unit 10 Castleham Industrial Estate, St Leonards on sea TN38 9NW and are open from 9 am to 1pm.

Contact us for more details.

Computer Aid

Further afield if you would like to assist people in developing countries visit Computer Aid.

They accept computers with a similar minimum as IT4all as described above.