14 Ways to Make Good Use of Your Old Computer Again

If you just bought or were given a new computer, you probably want to get rid of your old computer and save up some precious space. But before you do that, try giving your old computer a new lease of life by turning it into something useful. Here are some of the ways you can make good use of your old computer.

1. Create a Digital Photoframe:

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If your PC is as good as junk, you can try turning it into a digital photoframe. Familiar is a free app that can help you accomplish the job. Other similar apps, such as Flickr slideshow or Picasa, are also handy for this.

2. An External Portable Storage

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When nothing but your hard drive from the old computer is working, you still have an option to turn that into a portable external storage with a little investment in a USB caddy that can be bought from Ebay.

3. A Second Display

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For Web professional, having a second (or more) external display is definitely useful. Using your old monitor as an additional external display is surely a cheaper alternative to buying a new one.

4. Sell It to Fund the Next One

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You might ask why you would sell your old computer when the whole article is about using it. That’s true, but it is always wiser to invest in newer technologies. They don’t just look brilliant, they are greener and a beefier performer, designed to run better and safer apps. Selling it for quick cash is definitely better than just throwing it away.

5. Donate and Bring Smiles to Faces

What’s of no use to you might be of great help for someone else. If you think that your old PC is nothing more than an expensive waste, donate it to a charitable organization like Freecycle, Computers with Causes or Donate Your PC.

6. Contribute with Your CPU time To Distributed Computing

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If you’re unsure about getting rid of your old computer just yet, you can volunteer your CPU power to people who can make the best out of it. BOINC is a wonderful tool to start with. You will find tons of causes, including cancer research, and can donate your time to them on that old computer.

7. Build Your Own Super Computer

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If you have hardware lying in the garage, with a little technical know-how and PelicanHPC, you can get a cluster up and running for fast parallel computing with MPI (Message Passing Interface). This ensures a faster computing experience with combined processing speeds.

8. For All the Software You’ve Been Wanting to Try

If you’ve been wanting to try that new Linux thing you heard last night, but your new PC is too cramped with Windows to go for a fresh installation, this is a great chance to put your old laptop/PC to good use. If your old PC meets the requirements (no matter how old your PC is, there’s bound to have a Linux distro that will work in your PC), use it for testing new apps before installing them on your work PC.

9. Add an Extra Level of Firewall Protection

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With the right set of tools, you can actually use your old PC as a firewall that sits between your new PC and the Internet. The following links demonstrate how you can take some time off and create a business class firewall with your old PC. [Link1][Link2]

10. A Media Station with Your Old PC

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Within a budget, you can buy a new LED display and a proper sound system or a wireless headset and turn your PC into a media player. With all the free and versatile media players and online streaming services, you can undo the burden of entertainment on your work PC/Laptop.

11. A Game Server

If you are a passionate gamer, this is a handy use for the 10-year-old junk. Most games nowadays have an option for a dedicated server. If you wish to go online for a multiplayer experience, configure your old PC to deal with the web traffic while you enjoy the sport on your gaming rig.

12. Printing or File Server

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If you own or administer a network of computers, that’s great, as you can use your old PC as the remote print or file server. Here is a guide with Windows XP as the OS on the old PC. Alternatively, you can use the old laptop storage as the file server for the network of the computers. Start with this guide to get the best out of the e-junk. If you are a fan of Ubuntu, with this resource you can turn it into a streaming server or a networked backup plan.

13. A Video Recorder or a TV

A modern day TV tuner card is capable of recording soap without a scratch. Why not use your clunker to record the F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode, while you finish your assignment.

14. A Granny Guide

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While your grandmother wants to try her hand at computer, for obvious reasons, you can’t trust her with your your new PC. If you want a novice to get used to the computing environment, your old PC is a good one to start with. Teach her a few things, and she will be more than happy to use your old PC to browse the Internet. Additionally, your 5-year-old son will love to play classic Mario or Road Rash on your old computer.

Apart from those ideas mentioned above, there are other interesting thoughts like putting up the old PC somewhere visible in the room so when a thief gets in and sees it, he might have a notion you are poor enough and that might frustrate him to leave. In any case, we are already living in a state where e-junks are creating shortages of landfill, so even if you do not care about any of the above, do recycle the PC for a greener future.

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5 comments

  1. Excellent ideas!

    I replaced my old desktop (32-bit; 512 ram; intel 280GHz; 40GB hardrive) OS with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

    I was wondering if you have any ideas on how to speed it up, like at start up, how to turn off software I do not need, yet starts up when I need them.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Thank you and have a great day!

    TomN.

    fyi, I am a novice to Ubuntu.

    1. TomN, for a faster start up, I recommend getting an SSD (Solid State Drive). I is basically a hard drive but a lot faster.

  2. Thanks for your input Evan. I am aware of SSD being faster, I bought my laptop for that specific reason. :)

    I am however just interested in Ubuntu tweaks.

  3. Increase ur ram and use ssd hard drive, and you do dual boot, windows 7 with ubuntu or any other os .,, u will actually enjoy using it ..bcoz i am enjoying doing it ..

  4. Check an other distro like bodhi or crunchbang,they will speed up your pc a lot !!!

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