12 Jun 10 Things to Do With an Old Computer
Do you have an old computer that’s taking up space? Don’t throw it away! This list provides ten things you can do with an old computer to keep it out of the dump and may even save you money.01of 10
Upgrading an old computer is an excellent way to squeeze more life from it. Though many upgrades are possible, focusing on the RAM and storage is best.
Running short of RAM can hamper performance, so adding RAM can refresh an old PC. A RAM upgrade is most useful when a PC has less than 4GB of RAM installed.
An old mechanical disk drive can also hold back PC performance, so consider replacing your old hard drive. If you can afford to do so, replacing it with a modern solid-state drive will make the PC more responsive.
However, not every PC allows upgrades, so research this before you purchase new hardware.02of 10
Use It as a Garage or Hobby PC
Old PCs can make great companions in ways you’d never use a new computer. A great example is an old ThinkPad used in the garage. It could be great for tracking to-do lists and recording the progress of a garden or other mess-making projects.
Most people would never use a new PC for such work. It’s a dirty, sometimes even damp, environment. Since many old PCs are no longer helpful for many tasks, you don’t have to feel bad subjecting them to more abuse.
Though its capabilities will be limited, most old PCs can access websites, document editing apps, and streaming video.03of 10
Play Retro PC and Console Games
An old computer is still quick enough to handle retro console and PC games from the 1980s and early 1990s.
You can play these games through an emulator. The emulator uses software to mimic the original game console or PC.
A massive library of emulators is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Retroarch, a program that can manage multiple emulators, is a great place to start.04of 10
Use It as a Home File Server
A home file server can be used as an alternative to cloud storage services. It will make files accessible to multiple computers in your home and even on the Internet.
Home file servers are best on a dedicated computer that’s always on, which is an excellent use for an old computer. A file server is not a demanding task, so most old computers can do the job.
There are many ways to set up a home file server, but downloading free FTP server software is an excellent place to start.05of 10
Use It as a Game Server
Most old PCs can run a game server. Unlike the clients connecting to it, the server doesn’t need to render the game’s graphics.
Turning an old PC into a game server can give you a dedicated virtual space to play with friends. You won’t have to pay a monthly fee, as you would if you rented the server.
A Minecraft server is a great place to start, but many old, popular games offer a dedicated server option.06of 10
Make It a Media Center PC
Most old computers are powerful enough to work as a media center PC. You can stream media or host video files you own.
Installing software such as Plex can help you connect multiple services and media files with one interface. You may even be able to access files from smartphones and tablets.
Those who love over-the-air TV can install a TV tuner to watch or record local TV broadcasts.07of 10
Make It a Home Security System
Want to use home security cameras to monitor your home while you’re away? An old computer can help.
Many security cameras can connect to a computer on your local network and record video to it. Look for home security cameras known as “IP cameras.” These connect directly over a local network or the Internet.
You will also need software to manage the cameras. Many options are available, but iSpy is the most popular free option.08of 10
Keep It for Guests
Adding a guest PC can make a guest room more comfortable. It’s handy if a family member or friend frequently visits since they’ll no longer need to pack their computer.
Turning an old computer into a guest computer is simple. All you need to do is set up a new local account for your guest.09of 10
You can often repurpose an old computer. If not, don’t throw it away. Consider donating it first.
The donation centers near you will vary depending on your location. Alternatively, you can put the computer up for free on a local ad board like Craigslist.10of 10
If an old computer is too slow to be useful or no longer working, it shouldn’t go in the trash. Computers can be hazardous as they degrade and should be recycled.
Most PC manufacturers have recycling programs, and many pay for shipping. These programs can be helpful if you live in a rural area without easy access to a recycling center.
by Matthew S. Smith, Lifewire