Like any computer, your laptop has a limited lifespan. And it does not matter how well you look after the thing. Eventually, it won’t be able to keep up to date with the latest software updates anymore, the interface will become too clunky, or the hardware itself will die.
When this happens, most people will simply get a new device and leave their once-treasured possession to gather dust. But your old laptop might not be as dead and useless as you thought. So long as it is still booting, there are many things you can do with it to get more life out of it yet. You might not have to buy a replacement at all.
Intrigued? Then take a look at the following five fun ways you can reuse your old laptop today.
Use Your Laptop for Network Attached Storage
Your laptop might not have the Ram and processing power you need anymore. But there is no need to let any storage space you have on there go to waste either, especially if it’s got a decent hard drive. Instead, you can use it as Network-attached Storage (NAS) by installing specialist software such as TrueNas Core.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, NAS essentially involves connecting a drive to your home network and making it accessible to all your devices. So, in this case, instead of filling the storage of your tablets, mobiles, and other devices, you can store them on your old laptop while retaining access. You can think of it as having your own personal cloud storage without the reliance on third parties.
Revive Your Laptop With Linux
How does the idea of getting your laptop working just as well as before sound? Only with a fast-booting, virus-resistant, and capable OS installed that can run almost any program you could ever need? Well, it might be time to give Linux a try.
In case you didn’t know, Linux is a family of popular open-source operating systems that are typically easy to install, configure and use. What’s more, even the more feature-heavy versions (or distros) of Linux are incredibly lightweight. And some flavors of Linux, such as AntiX, Linux Lite, or Tiny Core, are even more lightweight still. So unless your laptop is ancient, you can likely get the system to work.
Turn Your Laptop Into a Chromebook
Is Linux not your style? You could always go down the Chrome OS Flex route instead and turn your laptop into a Chromebook device. You won’t have as many features as before, but you will have a lightweight system with a snappy, simplified interface. It is a brilliant choice if you are only looking to run a browser and some web apps.
Note that you are unlikely to get anything too old (anything pre-2010 is unlikely to be compatible anymore) to work. And you will need at least 4GB of RAM. But if your laptop still meets the requirements, the results are well worth the minimal effort.
Create a Retro Gaming Machine
Miss playing your favorite old games? Another fun way to reuse your old laptop is to turn it into a dedicated retro gaming environment. And it won’t take up the same amount of room or cost as much as hunting down the original hardware and gear.
Turning your device into a retro gaming machine is as simple as finding and downloading the emulation software of your choice, be it for playing old Nintendo or Sega games.
However, if you really want to complete the experience, get yourself a gaming controller or joystick. You can even find one of the many controllers tailored to look and feel like the originals.
Gift It to the Kids
Even if your computer is no longer up to browsing the web or utilizing newer programs, it can still serve as an excellent digital playground for younger kids. Indeed, it might even be the perfect gift to not only keep them occupied but to help to teach them about computers. And if nothing else, it will keep them off your actual gadgets.
The important thing here is to ensure that there is nothing on your laptop that might be inappropriate for minors, which a simple factory will likely guarantee. You’ll also want to install safeguards or remove access to their ability to access the internet entirely.
From there, it’s a matter of loading up the machine with fun and educational content, such as various games, graphic editors, and anything else that may inspire their creativity.
Worse Case: Trade, Sell, Donate or Recycle
Hopefully, this list has inspired you to revitalize your laptop in some manner. But if you still feel like your machine is useless, it may be time to part with your computer. But that does not mean you should throw it in the garbage.
For starters, you might be able to earn some cash from selling your machine. Since even if no one else wants the computer, many collectors and refurbishes may be happy to pay for the parts inside, especially if they’re hard to get elsewhere.
Another option is to donate your laptop to a non-profit. Otherwise, getting it recycled is likely the best bet. Just remember to wipe any data before taking any of these actions. Otherwise, it may end up in the wrong hands.