Our Computers

Computerbank’s low cost computers are available to concession card holders, students and community groups to assist to cross the digital and economic divide in Australia. Computerbank is a self funded not for profit, volunteer run community group.

Our refurbished, low cost computers come complete with monitor, keyboard/mouse and a full user guide. You can view more about our shop or see the available options via our stocklist.

Computerbank User Guide

You can download a copy of the latest version of the Computerbank user guide by clicking the icon below. The user guide is supplied with each of our computers and includes user guides and image tutorials for popular tasks and software.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s the frequently asked questions we are asked at Computerbank. If you have any questions not answered below, please feel free to email or give us a call.

What is on the Computerbank computer?
All our computers come with over 70 open source software programs.  Programs include word processing, spreadsheets, pdf maker, presentation slides, typing tutor, maths games, kids games, solitaire, sudoku, chess, web camera software, GIMP graphics, Firefox, Google Chrome, Skype, GRAMPS genealogy, GnuCash Finance management, VLC, Audacity and much more.

The operating system is a customised Linux NOT Windows OS. If you have any questions please contact us.

Who is eligible for a low cost computer?
Our low cost recycled computers are available for community groups and  Australian Commonwealth Concession Card or Health Care Card holders, asylum seekers (referral or card) and students.

Bring your Australian Commonwealth Concession Card, Health Care Card, Student Card or proof of Asylum Seeker status to Computerbank during our open times to buy a machine.

We will give you a one page application to fill out so we can support you if something goes wrong.

What is Linux and why haven’t I heard of it before?
Linux is a free Unix based operating system. It is often referred to being open source, because the code is freely available. Some well known examples of open source software used in Windows/Mac include Firefox, Thunderbird mail, Audacity and VLC.

Because Linux is freely available, it isn’t marketed by anyone in particular. Despite this, Linux is used to run most of the internet, is installed or embedded into many devices (eg routers, TV’s, fridges), and is the operating system included in Android based smart phones and tablets. You might already be using Linux and not even know it.

Will you put Microsoft Windows on a computer I get from you?
No we will not put Microsoft Windows on one of our computers,  some of our refurbished pc’s have a Microsoft Licence Sticker.This means you can legally install the version of Microsoft indicated on the licence sticker. All Computerbank computers are tested and refurbished with the Linux operating system we have included lots of useful software.

You can surf the web, create documents, play games, work on graphics on our computers.

We are committed to using free and open source software.

Do you have Laptops?
Laptops are only available to concession card holders and community groups. They are available on a first come first served basis and pricing depends on the specifications of the computer.
Do you offer a Warranty?
Our restored computers come with a three months back to base warranty. For desktops, we extend the warranty to six months if the original operating system, Linux, is still installed on the computer. If you have a problem with your computer you can organise an appointment to bring it back to us.

The charge for repairs to machines after 3 months is $25 plus the cost of parts.

There will be charge if a Computerbank computer has been tampered with and items replaced or removed.  We charge $25 if the machine has become faulty after a Windows installation. We will not install Windows, only the Linux operating system.

  • The warranty is extended to six months if the original operating system, Linux, is still installed on the computer.
  • If you have a problem with your computer bring it back to us.
  • After the warranty period, the charge for repairs to machines is $25 plus the cost of parts.
  • There will be charge if a Computerbank computer has been tampered with and items replaced or removed.
  • We charge $25 if the machine has become faulty after a Windows installation. We do not install Windows only the Linux operating system.
Will you deliver my computer?
No we are not able to deliver computers as we don’t have any volunteers available to drive around Melbourne.

If you don’t have transport you will have to organise a family member, friend or social worker to pick up your computer from Computerbank in North Melbourne.

Do you offer free training?
We will try to show you some of the basics when you buy the computer from our store.

Depending on volunteer availability, we can sometimes offer one on one basic training in store. We can show you:

  • How to use our Linux computer.
  • We show you how to create documents, browse the Internet and to use our games.
  • We show you how to use the software on the computer.
  • We show you where your documents and files are stored.
  • We discuss the major differences between the Linux/operating system and Windows.
  • We explain that documents and spreadsheets created on a Computerbank computer that could be used on a Windows PC.
  • How to assemble the computer when you get it home.
  • Trainers are advanced Linux users who have a range of experience in the field.
  • We do not offer Microsoft Windows software or training.
  • You must book with Computerbank. Email or contact us to arrange.

Free training can be offered in North Melbourne if you qualify and get a Computerbank computer.

We sometimes have Show Me How Days.  These are scheduled on an ad hoc basis.  This is perfect for people who have some specific needs. If you have a Computerbank computer and wish to add a camera, a printer or have a question about any aspect of your computer,  bring your item in and we can show you how it works with your computer.

We do not offer advanced Linux software training for free. Advanced training and computer building workshops are offered to groups or in a one on one setting. We charge an hourly rate plus a call out fee if at your place, please  contact us for more information.

There are also many free open source resources on the internet to further your knowledge.  You could try these links: Open Source Software and Linux information   There are also many open source software user groups where you can meet people and learn more.

Do you sell printers and do they work with your computers?
Unfortunately we no longer sell printers in our shop due to logistical reasons.

Not all printers work with a Computerbank computer. Computerbank computers have a Linux operating system on them not a Microsoft windows system.

Check this list of Linux compatible printers at Open Printing.

Where to buy a printer

We no longer sell or stock second hand and new printers in our shop. You can purchase printers from Officeworks, JBHiFi, BigW, Computer World, Kmart, IT Warehouse, IT Supermarket, MSY and other local retailers. You can buy a multi function printer compatible with Linux for under $60. Look out for specials, we’ve seen inkjet printers go for as low as $15.

You can also buy from second hand dealers, computer swap meets, and individual sellers from second hand trading publications, they will have lower prices than retail stores. When buying printers from second hand dealers, it is always good practice to check you can return the printer if it does not work with your system.

Check the cost of ink cartridges

Check the cost of ink cartridges before purchasing a printer. Cartridges for some models cost as much as $90. Sometimes a cheaper generic cartridge could be used. Also there are refillable ink kits available which are a cheaper option again.

Printer Set Up is not Automatic

After purchasing your printer, it will need configuration to work with your computer. The printer doesn’t just plug in and work*.  Discs that come with the printer are for Microsoft Windows printer drivers and will not work on our computers.  Don’t panic.

Instructions for setting up a printer can be found under “How do I set up my Printer?” which is included in the computer guide we gave you when you bought the computer.  There is a copy of these instructions included in the documents folder as well.

Will Computerbank Repair my Printer?

Computerbank does not repair printers.  Each printer manufacturer unfortunately makes hundreds of different models and it is not possible to stock parts for them.  It would be nice to see some standardisation within and between brands to cut needless waste.

Do you offer computers for overseas countries?
We are a voluntary run organisation and have no funding for transportation to overseas countries.

Overseas groups applying for a computer/s will have to pay for and organise the pick up, transportation of the computers to another country and delivery at the destination.

Preference is given to people supporting Linux and open source software.

Computers are not always available for overseas submissions.

Recycled Parts

Computerbank has many recycled computer parts and equipment for sale. Volunteers have taken the trouble to separate these items so they don’t end up in Ewaste.

We know geeks and creative people will find these recycled parts very useful, you can check out a common items list on our shop page, please contact us if you are after anything specific or have any inquiries.

Don’t forget to check our Ebay Store.