Our “new” desktop computer centre

Our desktop computer is a bit of a dinosaur … it’s quite old and we very nearly replaced it last year when the computer powered off every few minutes without warning.

We had to eventually reformat the hard drives – Yikes!  I decided to do this and spend a few hundred rand to upgrade it, as opposed to spending thousands for a new computer.  I essentially have a ‘new‘ old computer.  We set up the poor thing again.

Image result for dropboxI reloaded my original programs and the documents I managed to back up.

I found a fantastic file-sharing program called Dropbox.  In a jiffy I had all my laptop documents backed up online and transferred to my desktop.  This is great technology! Once you’ve installed Dropbox on both computers (and on iPhone, if you have one), anytime you work on a document and save it, it is automatically updated online and on the other computer.  It constantly synchronizes the files, so documents on both my laptop and desktop are  updated.  Of course, there is the added benefit that your friends also install Dropbox and you can share files instantly and easily. Other cloud services have a free trial period and then require you to purchase access. Dropbox gives you 2GB of storage for free, forever.

I had to upgrade to MS Word 2010 from my 2003 version.  I love all the new features!  I added an Afrikaans spell check for our Word documents. (our South African 2nd language)

I replaced the old, defunct keyboard and bought a wireless mouse!  I have a left-hander who constantly re-arranges the old mouse and its cable and then her poor sisters work across their bodies with their right hands.  Not good.  This new gizmo is fantastic!

Then I bought a computer desk.  It came as a flat-pack and I took an evening assembling it.  All by myself!  Good hey?  Now my desk is free.  The kids can sit together and work without disturbing me, but it is right next to me, so I can help and supervise them.

After setting up the computer and all the wires and cables, I tidied all the ‘spaghetti’ and cable-tied the speakers to the desk.  There is a headphone for quiet music appreciation or online games when needed.

I moved the printer to the top shelf.

A new fold-up chair completes our upgrade.

Costs:  All new hardware, software and furniture – about R1600 (About $228)

All done!

Well for now …

(I oohed and aahed over the small swivel office chairs … but my budget was tight!  Maybe I’ll afford one in a few months time …?  And a new screen – one of those lovely flat screens …?  And maybe some more memory …? A NEW computer …?!)

No!!  This works!  It’s fully functional.

I realise that technology is constantly upgraded and we will eventually have to trade this old dinosaur in.

How do you organize your computer centre?

What online educational games do you recommend?


12 thoughts on “Our “new” desktop computer centre

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  4. I love your “make do” attitude!
    I love using a desktop much more than a laptop. I guess it’s the large keyboard and the huge screen. Using a laptop makes me feel scrunched up — head, neck, shoulders.
    Praise God! Someone gave us a NEW still-in-the-box Dell computer with flat screen monitor and keyboard, mouse, etc. It’s great. I had to leave my other one back in China, so this was such a sweet blessing to receive. Now for a printer… I SO need one.


  5. Depending on what you consider a few hundred you could have just bought a new computer for $300-400 at a big box store (eMachines come to mind). The only time your going to spend $1000 or more is buying straight from Dell. Often times these days the cost to upgrade is more then just buying new. I’ve also bought computers that are 2-3x faster then what I had for about $100 on craigslist or ebay.


    • @Heather, true, you do get some great deals. I even considered a trade-in deal on my exsisting computer to see if I could buy new cheaper, but a few rands on the exsisting old computer seemed frugal. Also, I included the costs of the desk and chair in my upgrade plan, which was not spent on the computer.


  6. You might also like Evernote. I use it for my long term storage, and Dropbox for my short term. Mostly because Drop only allows for 2G.

    Evernote has a web and desktop client, plus app so that you can access your files pretty much from anywhere. I’ve finally paid for Premium after using the free version for several years (with an occasional $5 month here and there).


  7. When you do upgrade to a new computer, I can’t recommend enough getting a laptop instead of a desktop. The portability is awesome!

    For instance, when my son needs to do his Spanish lesson (Rosetta Stone) He can take my computer into one of the bedrooms for some quiet so that the software can more easily recognize his voice.

    This morning before church I realized that I needed to customize a form to organize meals for a lady at church who recently had surgery. I knew I didn’t have time to do it & print it before we needed to leave. So I just packed up my laptop, made the necessary changes in the car on the way to church, then printed it when we got there!

    I’ve even parked it on the dining room table with a recipe pulled off the internet while I cook. That way I don’t waste the ink or paper until I know for sure it’s a keeper recipe.

    We’ve also taken it with us to a Dr. Appt. so that one child can be doing their math while sitting in the waiting room as their sibling has their appt.

    These are just a few examples. When I asked my husband for it almost a year ago, it seemed like such a luxury and an extravagance, but now I see how much it has enhanced our life, relieved stress, and made school more convenient on the go!


    • @Lois, you may see my laptop on my desk. We traveled and homeschooled for a year with it and I totally love my laptop! The desktop is the children’s and the laptop is mine now.


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