The Holidays have long since passed and you have been cruising around the internet on a brand-new desktop or laptop. It’s shiny, it smells new, and it’s so much faster than your old computer. However, your old computer sits there in a corner, disconnected from power, and gathering dust. You have said to yourself, “What am I going to do with this old thing?” Below are some things to consider regarding an old PC and how it can still be useful.
The first suggestion for an old PC is to consider using it as a home server. But wait you say! “Servers are just for businesses I thought?” Well, think again. Today are homes are becoming more and more internet connected, and especially when it comes to media storage. Videos and pictures take up a lot of storage space over time, so that new rig you got for Christmas could easily start slowing down like your old PC if the hard drive starts filling up.
Take that old desktop, which probably has a 500GB hard drive, and wipe the operating system off it and reinstall Windows. Of course, before you do this, make sure to back up your files to an external drive. Just wiping the drive and reinstalling Windows will make that old PC run much faster, if not like new. If you are going to use this computer as a home file server, and the current drive is too small, head out to the store and buy a larger one and install Windows on it.
Take all those videos, pictures, and your document files and offload them onto that old PC. Finally, make sure that all computers in your household have the same network name, turn on file and printer sharing in the operating system, and you can now access those files from any machine in the house. Congratulations! You have just setup a home file server.
Do you have kids? Are they always getting on your computer and leaving a trail of destruction behind, such as downloading games, or getting it infected with malware and the like? This is another reason to repurpose an old PC. Follow the same steps above to reinstall Windows, and now you have a computer that your kids can use, thus freeing up your machine. Be sure when you do this, that you set each one of them up with their own user account, so they can have their own settings, layouts, and the like. I would also highly encourage anyone to make those user accounts “Standard Accounts” and do not give them Administrator access.
Another consideration is donating that old PC to someone who is in need. The first thing people think of are schools and libraries. However, schools and libraries get their computers through budgetary allocations. Private schools however may be a route to consider, as they are not funded by taxpayers, but by those paying tuition. Also, consider charitable organizations, such as churches, women’s shelters, or organizations that help people with job placement. Please consider however that when you donate your old PC, it should be something that they can use. If you have an old Windows XP machine, they are not going to be able to use that.
The options I mentioned in this article primarily dealt with using the Windows operating system. However, you may want to try your hand at the Linux operating system. There are Linux distributions that you can download for free from the internet and install on that old PC or laptop. You might find that it runs even better than before with a different operating system, as many Linux users, such as myself have discovered. This can be especially useful if you have a child, or an adult, in the home that likes to tinker around with computers. You can even use that operating system to network with your other Windows machines in the home server option mentioned earlier.
In the past, old PCs usually were relegated to the garage, where they would only emerge years late to take their place as one of the last items to go in a garage sale. However, old computers can and are still very useful today, when applied to the right situation. So, go get that old machine and try some of the options mentioned here today. You will be getting the most out of your money that you invested in that machine, and you might find that it will enhance, or make more efficient, how you do things regarding your personal computing.