Everyone knows that technology becomes obsolete very quickly. When your computer gets old, you could get rid of it, or you could re-purpose it. There are many different functions that old computers can serve as well as teach a person about technology. I’ve got a list of different things to try with your old computer before you throw it out.
Is your computer due for an upgrade? Is it only a few years old and the only problem is it’s getting a little sluggish? Slap another stick of RAM into your system, upgrade the hard drive and even add some sweet custom LEDs. Upgrading your computer can be much cheaper than buying a brand new one. Check out System Spec, one of my favorites, to quickly get a detailed list of exactly what you have in your system now to make finding compatible upgrades easier.
Make a Server
Old computer make great servers. If you would like a file server to backup your data and create an easy, central point for sharing files, check out Amahi. It’s a great program that runs on top of Fedora and has some really cool apps coming out to make it even more fun. You could also re-purpose that computer into a media server with something like XBMCbuntu. Watch all of your movies and tv shows and listen to music and have it look oh so pretty.
There are many other types of servers you could turn your old computer into including a printer server, a web server or even a dedicated gaming server. All of these options make a simple task like printing from a central location easier, especially if you have multiple hosts on your network. Give one a try and see if it makes your life any easier.
Create a Firewall
Your network and the data that is housed there is important to you. So keep it extra safe with a homemade firewall. Buy an extra NIC for your old computer and hook it up between your router and your internet connection. Throw on a popular firewall program such as Untangle or pfSense and your network will be the safest on the block.
Linux is getting much more popular in the geek world so why not give it a try if you haven’t yet. You don’t have to make the plunge and go all Linux and leave yourself hanging not knowing what to do. Throw Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint or even openSUSE on your old box and see what everyone is so excited about. Learn about a different operating system while not losing your other os, any of your files or worrying about messing anything up. If anything happens, just blow it away and start again.
Take it apart
Here’s your chance. Have you always wanted to know what the inside of a computer looks like? Want to build your own computer from scratch? Find a good tutorial like this one from Instructables and rip that bad boy apart. Take this opportunity of having an old, junk computer to learn about the insides and become a computer hardware master!
Turn it into an Aquarium
We’ve all seen the pictures and wanted to make one. So take your old computer and go buy some new fish. Turn that old computer or monitor into a new aquarium to proudly display your geeky side as well as your new best friends.
What happens when a computer isn’t able to used for any of these other purposes? Well you know what they say, it’s the survival of the bittest! (See what I did there? Bit? As in computer bits? Oh nevermind….)
If you can’t upgrade your computer, use it to upgrade a different one. Take out that RAM and the hard drive and put it into the new computer. You can find the most fun of peripherals and add-ons in old computers.
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