Longtime subscriber Gusieppe Monginelli wrote to ask about a possible use for the computer he was replacing:

Hello Jonny:

Possibly a silly question, however, I have not seen it posted anywhere else.

My original PC tower hardware(Compaq, XP SP2) was proving to be to limited for my use as my needs changed, i.e.Photoshop etc. I had a custom built unit replace it( XP reinstalled & recently upgraded to Win 7 SP1, Raid configured, C: 160 GB, D: 320 GB, H: X-Craft 160 GB External Drive) & put the original back in its box.

Over time I have asked many friends & family if they wanted it for free but no takers. It occurred to me that I could donate it to a charity once I had successfully & completely erased the two hard drives (C:160 GB & D: 80 GB).

After that “brainstorm” I thought that perhaps I could keep & use the Compaq unit as 2 External Hard Drive backup devices (not suddenly greedy…just on a pension & money is tight).

a)Is this possible or even recommended?

b)More headache than its worth?

c)What type of cable connection could/should be used?

d)Should the drives be formatted and/or should XP be left on C: Drive.

e)Are there scenarios I haven’t considered? I appreciate your time…


I wrote back to Gus to tell him that he had a good question..

It’s a question every one of us has when we upgrade to a new computer. What can I do with that old computer that should still be useful?

The idea of using it as a backup device is pretty good. However, the drives may be small for that, depending on the amount of data that you would want to back up and how many copies you would keep.

I assume that Gus is connected to a cable or DSL internet service provider. In that case, he’s got at least a modem – and hopefully, he’s using a cable/dsl router for security reasons, as I recommend, even if you’re only using one computer to connect to the Internet.

The best way to connect his backup computer to his new computer would be to network them, using a cable/dls router. While most include wireless functions, which may not be of any interest, most also have 4 connections for Ethernet cables on the back. Depending on which model he selects, he can have 10/100 or 10/100/1000 connect speeds.

Assuming he has the router now, all he would need for networking is one more Ethernet cable. The router should have its DHCP server turned on, which it would have already if you’ve already got one. That’s also the default setting for the routers.

Regarding formatting the drives or leaving XP on the C: drive, he will have to keep XP on the C: drive — he will need the operating system to run that computer!

Categories: Backup

Jonny Matson

Johnny Matson is a computer expert from Washington. Johnny is an software engineer. At the moment he works as a system administrator. Articles on topics range from home networks to wireless networks to Internet security, software and others. I also recommend visiting the 100appsnow.com site and finding a very useful application - download guitar tuner app

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