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Non-OS/Browser uses for a PC


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Old 25-06-2013, 02:06
cly
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In addition to my main computers, i have an 'old' computer that runs absolutely fine. It has Windows XP and with that having it's support withdrawn next year i am looking for ideas to make good use of the pc. It runs great with 4gb video streams and editing video at speed, so it's in good nick in many ways.

The hard drive isn't large enough for Windows 7 etc to run smoothly. I have a large external hard drive for back-up and storage so have no need to convert it into a mere storage device.

Hmmm guess what i'm asking is excluding storage and internet browsing does anyone have genuine good uses for a computer.

Apologies in advance for my failure to grasp differences between OS and browsers etc and which one or both a computer must have. Will a computer 'do things' without it having or needing an internet browser, does it need an 'external/imported OS' or will it 'do things' lol without Microsoft etc?

Only thing i can come up with at the moment is for possible uses with my CCTV system? But would i at some stage have to have a browser, or indeed a Microsoft OS to interact with my CD installed video software. Sorry this is where i get lost with the need/definition of an OS. I mean is an OS in effect the exact same as an engine in a car and obviously you ain't going to move an inch without one?
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Old 25-06-2013, 02:22
wilt
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You need an operating system, the computer wont do anything without one. In this case, your operating system is Windows XP.

Your internet browser is what you use to look at web pages like this one, so you can still do anything else with your PC other than browse the web without one.

But now we've got that out of the way - if the PC still works and you are happy with its performance, you can continue to use it as you do now even after Microsoft ends support for Windows XP. It wont stop working, there will just be no further updates to the operating system.

Since Windows XP is stuck on an old version of Internet Explorer, if you haven't already done so I would suggest downloading an alternative browser which is still being actively supported and updated for Windows XP. Two popular options are Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
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Old 25-06-2013, 10:54
emptybox
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Nothing to stop you sticking a version of Linux on it if you wanted.
They don't require as much hard drive space for the OS as Windows. 10GB for the system drive is adequate. Whereas I probably wouldn't put Windows 7 on less than 50GB.

You could connect the computer to your TV as a media PC.
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Old 25-06-2013, 17:52
degsyhufc
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Depends what you are interested in. If you want to keep your main PC clean and not mess around with it then you can use the old one as a test machine.

You could run a webserver on it. If you are a web designer or webmaster then it's handy for learing. Use Remote Desktop or similar to log into it over your network.

You could use it as a maintenance PC. Get a USB HDD adaptor and you can copy/backup/repair/wipe disks for you or friends.

Set it up as backup storage etc.


Just basic stuff like that but you could have it in the corner or other room where it doesn't effect your general PC usage.
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Old 25-06-2013, 18:47
cly
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Thanks for some good ideas so far.

Sorry about the mental blank moment, i'm with the OS/Browser differences now. The only reason i won't be using Windows XP come next April is because there will be no more security updates, however, that only comes into the equation if i was using the internet, which i won't be. Therefore obviously i can keep the OS on the computer.
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Old 25-06-2013, 19:07
PrimalIce
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XP wont magically break just because there are no more security updates. It will stay as 'secure' as it will be after the last update. Eventually it will become slightly more secure as fewer and fewer machines run XP so will the interest in finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in them decline.
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Old 26-06-2013, 08:06
TheBigM
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Thanks for some good ideas so far.

Sorry about the mental blank moment, i'm with the OS/Browser differences now. The only reason i won't be using Windows XP come next April is because there will be no more security updates, however, that only comes into the equation if i was using the internet, which i won't be. Therefore obviously i can keep the OS on the computer.
Windows XP can always be replaced with Linux which has far less malware attempting to attack it which would enable you to keep using it for browsing etc.

You could even run your Windows XP as a virtual machine for non-internet applications.

I would be tempted to put Windows Home Server on it and turn it into a centralised, automated backup service for your home, kinda like Time Capsule.
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Old 26-06-2013, 09:20
dont_be_hasty
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Have you ever thought about turning it into a Media Centre?

I'm not sure if your into watch movies / tv shows but if you are you could look into installing XBMC onto it, hook it up to your TV and use it as a media centre.
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Old 26-06-2013, 14:25
coachtrip_fan99
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I would love install Ubuntu or something on it - works well on older machines like this
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Old 26-06-2013, 21:04
cly
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Pondering on this further, it could save me from having to purchase a second new computer, depending on if what i want to be done can be. I'll need to lean further upon your knowledge to find out.

Firstly, i've no wish to use it as a media centre regards television. however, the video facilities it contains could well be of the greatest use. I've got Sky+HD and a couple of dvd recorders hooked up to, amongst other things tv set-top boxes. Therefore, i don't need my computers to churn away with tv recording, or even dvd playing.

This old Windows XP computer has a multitude of physical video inputs suiting all sorts of cables and signals going direct into the video processing card and all my various video software editing suites, programmes and players.

Now on to the interesting possibilities. The new computer i purchased has great specs but duhhhhhhh! to my shock upon setting it up a couple of weeks after purchasing it, i discovered it has no video inputs for cables (or tv tuner for that matter!). How did i not know of this when i bought it you chuckle? because it was heavily advertised as (and does contain) a Media Center PC. So i naturally presumed it came with all manner of video inputs. I obviously got lost in not seeing the wood for the trees when purchasing it after ploughing through many reviews and write-ups of computers and momentarily overlooked the lack of physical inputs.

Now back to my trusty old Windows XP. I use it heavily for video editing footage uploaded via body cams and also general footage from tv, video, phone or dvd cables. It is my main nerve centre for my CCTV cameras using Yawcam* and other internal cameras in my home. Sooooo, i'm now leaning towards using it solely for video purposes and clear the hard disk of anything else cluttering it up (bar WindowsXP or swapping that for Linux/whatever).

OK one very important question to which i'll be so very thankful for answers. I appreciate i'll have to go and do all the grafting looking up how to do it but......i simply need to know IF i can first.......I currently have my old PC and the new one networked together. Does anyone know if it is possible (and simple even) to - despite my new computer having NO physical video inputs - use the superior power of my new computer and it's more recent and more powerful versions of video programmes to work on the video that goes in to my old computer via it's physical video inputs?

*( i use Yawcam which is a famous excellent FREE tiny piece of software. You can use multiple cameras (either individual ones or onto say a quad splitter etc), motion detector which then notifies via email with pics etc, log into live video streams or refresh jpegs, You can save files or movement to your own computer, a server, an email server. It has many uses, including using a detector that signals when motion stops. It's external outputs come in handy if someone breaks in and legs it with your computer, as it's not much point saving files to just your hard drive if someone takes it away lol)

Apologies for the long post i was typing as i was thinking lol, yeah i know that's a bad thing lol.
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Old 26-06-2013, 21:17
TheBigM
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Yes. At a high level, your Win XP machine will use the video inputs to record/capture the video onto its hard disk.

Then, using gigabit ethernet, you will transfer the video footage to your new PC where you can use it with your new software.

However, personally I would find it easier to just buy a video capture device for your new PC. Either by fitting the relevant card inside the PC or using a breakout box with lots of inputs that connects via USB to the new PC. I remember companies like Pinnacle used to sell breakout boxes with some of their video editing suites.
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Old 28-06-2013, 02:31
cly
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Yes. At a high level, your Win XP machine will use the video inputs to record/capture the video onto its hard disk.

Then, using gigabit ethernet, you will transfer the video footage to your new PC where you can use it with your new software.

However, personally I would find it easier to just buy a video capture device for your new PC. Either by fitting the relevant card inside the PC or using a breakout box with lots of inputs that connects via USB to the new PC. I remember companies like Pinnacle used to sell breakout boxes with some of their video editing suites.
I like the sound of that.
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