What good is a Refurbished Computer?
Just because hardware is old doesn't mean it is useless. As the internet grows and changes, more and more computing functions are available online and they often cost less to use and are easier than installing them on your computer. Consider web mail, Google Calendar, Google Documents and online services in general. Most of the work is performed by the network and a good internet connection (high speed access or broadband) makes more of a difference than a new computer. DSL speed is fast enough to satisfy a great many users and higher internet speeds (Cable, Broadband and FIOS) do not require a computer faster than 1Ghz.
Many computers built in the last 10 years are capable of handling Windows XP. Those systems run fine with a modest amount of memory and storage. Hard drives can fail after several years but they are inexpensive to replace. The primary problems of age can be solved by assuring that memory and storage are sufficient to install Windows XP and the software you need for the applications you use. Once these tasks are completed and checked out, an older machine can work well until Microsoft stops maintenance support for Windows XP in 2014.
And, by the way, you can start your computer faster each day if you only put it to sleep when you are through rather than powering it off completely. You can also extend the life of your machine with a battery backup instead of a surge protector. You should only turn off the comuter's power when there is a power failure of more than five minutes.