Whenever you buy a new Computer or Laptop, the old one is often stashed away in a corner unused or even sold to scrap dealers. It’s still more often than not a fully functioning machine, although it may not have the latest specifications or OS, and there are a few ways in which you could actually put that computer to good use instead of simply contributing to the rising levels of e-waste.
#1 Use it as a Server for your Home or Office
If you have multiple machines connected together in a small scale home or office level network, you can use your old computer as a Network Attached Storage (NAS) medium, or a server for email or file serving purposes. You’ll have to tweak the system in a few ways though, as computers built for home uses aren’t ready for life as a server right off the bat.
Firstly, you’ll need to get an operating System specifically designed for servers. Windows Server OS is one such operating system that you could use for this purpose. There are other open source operating systems like FreeNAS. You can use normal consumer level operating systems like Windows XP, Vista etc. but there’s the extra hassle of creating user accounts for each different user in the network and configuring the user rights, i.e. which user has access to which resources, etc. This server won’t need a monitor, keyboard or mouse, though they will be needed for the initial set-up.
#2 Help out Distributed Computing Projects
Instead of simply selling your computer for spare change, you should try to help out one of the many public distributed computing projects out there. These projects use the computing power of many computer systems across the world to perform computing operations that would require tremendous amounts of power to run on a centralized machine. SETI@Home is one such project. It lets you participate in the “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence” program that aims to find intelligent alien life. Another such project is Folding@home. It uses computing resources from all over the world to help study protein folding, an essential element to understanding how many diseases operate.
#3 Give it to relatives
Another good way to make use of old computers is to give it to relatives. Elderly relatives often don’t know how to use computers and this offers a chance for them to get acquainted with basic things like web browsing. You will be the person they will always approach when they have some problems though – be wary of that. You will have to erase the hard drive and format the system though, do keep that in mind.
#4 Use it for Classic Gaming
If you’re a gaming enthusiast, you might want to consider re-purposing this old computer for use as a dedicated machine for old school gaming. Many modern OS are dropping backward compatibility with DOS based games, and that means playing those old games will only get more difficult in the future. You could either install an old OS version like Windows 98 to enjoy full compatibility, or you could simply use an emulator such as DosBOX. A good place to get classic games is goodoldgames.com or GoG as it’s called in the gaming community. The games are available at low prices, are DRM free and are even fully functional on Modern OS. You can consider running emulators for old consoles as well, such as the Ataris and the Segas and the old Nintendo systems.
#5 Experiment with it!
If you’ve always wanted to try out different operating systems and user environments but want to avoid the hassle of dual booting and the restrictions on storage it brings, you might want to consider using your old computer as an experimental machine to try out the various operating systems out there, like Linux or Mac OS. For the Linux side of things, people who want an introduction into the Linux platform can use Ubuntu- a sleek and easy to use Linux based OS that is quick and easy to install. If you’re one who really likes tinkering with your machine though, you might want to consider building a Hackintosh. A Hackintosh is basically a PC that runs the Macintosh OS. It’s not for the faint hearted though, as it requires quite a bit of effort to get a Hackintosh up and running.
#6 Resell it to get cash back for your new one!
Oh heck, it’s redundant and you’ve decided to put it away because you know you need to upgrade to an newer, sleeker, faster, smarter computer! As easy and straightforward as at it seems, it’s hardly the first thing that comes to mind when we plan to upgrade. There is the hassle of going to the market to find out what its value might be and then multiple attempts to sell it to electronic shops or listing in on-line and waiting for the lead to be discovered. There are many buy back offers on purchase or upgrade that companies like HP, Apple etc. run but those can also be seasonal and need to be kept track of while they are usually the better thing to do.
Else you can always have your device evaluated on-line and get direct cash back to use it else where as per need by logging on to ReGlobe and letting our representatives come pick it from your doorstep. How convenient is that?