What to do with an old computer?

You probably have an old desktop or laptop lying around from some time ago, or maybe you’re about to buy a new computer, and you’re thinking of trashing the old one. Well, stop thinking along those lines and start experimenting with what exactly the old pc can do for you.

I’ve seen it a good number of times; people throwing away their old computers, just because they have something better. It really is a shame and a huge waste to see perfectly functional computers like that go to waste just because they are older models. Today, I’ll be telling you several ways that you can reuse an old computer instead of allowing it to go to waste. Make use of any of these methods to turn that old rust bucket into a useful device.

Try a New OS

This is easily the most common and most effective step for old computers that are still functional. This is usually the first step to all the methods on this list. Installing a new OS involves clearing your hard drive, so make sure to backup all your files. After that, you could either install an older windows OS to reduce the load or switch to Linux. Linux is an open-source operating system that is a fast-booting, virus-resistant, Windows-like environment capable of just about anything your windows PC can. 

Linux is preferable for computers with low-end hardware because it uses a minimal amount of hardware resources. This won’t affect you much because Linux is capable of running thousands of programs. While it doesn’t run windows applications, it offers its own functional alternatives; some examples are the Microsoft office alternatives – LibreOffice and OpenOffice. Linux can run standard browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. It also runs a handful of emulators and games like Civilization V and Minecraft. Finally, Linux offers you, several mail clients and image editors, like GIMP.

Lastly, even if you can’t find a proper alternative for your favorite windows app, there’s also a way to emulate windows apps on Linux. Just use PlayOnLinux to run programs that are only available for Windows.

Use it as an extra private PC

This is for people who would like a machine that’s built just for extra-private browsing with no chance that ISPs or others will be able to see what you’re doing. You can use it to access your bank or other things that require extreme privacy. To do this, move to a TAILS framework and get a proper VPN to make the PC one of the most secure rigs around. This will reduce the speed and flexibility of the computer, but there’s no chance of spying eyes.

Turn it into a Chromebook

This step is similar to installing Linux as it involves switching to another OS that requires less hardware. A Chromebook is simply a laptop that runs a Google-powered interface that doesn’t need much processing power. Your old computer should be more than enough to run Google’s OS, Chromium. It’s a great alternative to Linux because it runs perfectly even on a computer with terrible hardware. It also appeals to android users because it gives them a chance to partake of another side of Google’s ecosystem. 

Turn it into a media player

This is another useful way to recycle your old computer. It basically involves turning the PC into a media center that serves your TV, connecting directly to it for everything from recording broadcast TV stations to watching Netflix on the big screen. There are a few downsides to this option, though. Firstly, it requires fairly decent hardware; an old Intel Pentium processor lacks the horsepower necessary for DVR duty. Again, if the PC doesn’t have an HDMI slot, then this project is out the window before it starts. 

Turn it into a retro arcade.

This project is enjoyable, and it turns your old computer into a retro arcade system using MAME — the Multiple Machine Arcade Emulator. MAME is designed to be an emulator to make old arcade games run on PC hardware. Luckily, retro games do not require high-level specifications. Any computer made in the last 20 years should possess the power to run MAME. Once you have this emulator, you gain access to thousands of various old-school games, many of which are compatible with controllers.

Open it up and learn how to build a pc

This is a nice way to learn if you have never built a computer or installed components. You can experiment freely on this computer without worrying about damaging your main  PC. It’s unlikely that you will do any real damage, though, If you take common precautions.

Once you start taking it apart, you’ll know all the basic components of a computer, and you’ll get a general idea of how things work. Still on reusing, if you’re repurposing the computer, there may be a few parts that might become useless ( like an extra fan); you can sell these to someone on eBay and then maybe get a new part.

Turn it into a digital photo frame.

This is a great option if the computer is really useless. This mainly involves stripping down a laptop to its bare parts, then turning the monitor into a picture frame. Just check out any of the online tutorials devoted to this subject. You’ll get steps similar to these; open up the PC, put the screen into a frame, fold the lower part of the laptop behind the screen and install a simple photo-frame software. After this, you can put your old hard drive into an external case and use it as a USB drive!