When you upgrade to a new computer, it's probably because the old one is a bit of an albatross. Most people however are at a loss of exactly what to do with that old bird once it's no longer needed. Tossing it in the trash isn't very good for the environment, it's not as if a computer is going to compost itself, but if you don't it'll just sit around and get in the way.
So what do you do with those old laptops and desktops? Here's a couple of ways to repurpose your old aging hardware.
Turn it into a Kids' PC
This one's actually fairly common. Wipe and reload the system and turn it into a device for kids/grandkids to use. It prevents them from possibly damaging your brand new PC and you can set the device up with parental controls to:
- Limit the sites they can access
- Control when and for how long they can use the computer
- Restrict them from downloading without your approval
- Monitor their activity
You may also isolate the device from your regular home network to further restrict their access and cut the risk of malware infection to your own devices.
Make a PC for Seniors
Instead of kids, you might up to accommodate those at the other end of the age spectrum and turn the computer into one geared for older family members. Optimize screen display color contrast for those with poor vision, make the text size bigger, set up the use of voice commands.
If you plan on using your old PC for either of these two purposes, you'll want to at least make sure it's running a supported operating system. The last thing you'll want to do is give someone a system that's insecure!
Convert to a Storage System
Storing documents, videos, photos, and music on your computer takes up a lot of room. Newer PCs typically come with solid-state drives which, while much, much faster, don't tend to have as much storage space. If storage is a problem, turn that extra computer into a media storage device to keep data on. Think of it like an external hard drive with much capacity than a thumb drive and, potentially, wireless.
If the old computer is still in decent condition, consider donating it to a school, library, charity or other non-profit. Of course, before doing so, you'll want to clean it up:
- Back up and then delete all your files
- Consider "zero filling" or just straight pulling out your hard drive so data cannot be recovered
- If you do leave the drive installed, reinstall the operating system so it is usable by the recipient
Part it Out
Finally, if you happen to be handy and have a bit of patience, you can disassemble old PCs and sell the parts. This typically works best when you have multiple PCs to part out but you can do it with only a single laptop or desktop. In some cases, parts sell for more than complete computers.
Like we mentioned above, it's very important to ensure you completely wipe or withhold the system's hard disks to make sure your data doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
Still can't decide?
Sometimes, some PCs just aren't salvageable. If none of the ideas above sound plausible, you need help accomplishing one of them, or have one of your own ideas you'd like to share, reach out to us. We'd love to have a chat.