1) Use your computer as a small file server. One new use for your old computer is as a file server for your home or work place. Basically, your reconfigured computer will act as shared storage for the other computers in your home. This option is a great idea for homes with several computers that all need to access the same data. It’s also great in terms of energy efficiency, because, since the computer is acting solely as storage space, you won’t need to use its monitor, keyboard, or speakers.
  • Several free open-source programs exist that allow you to convert your old computer into a server. One example of such a program is FreeNAS. These programs are available for download from the internet.
  • For extra storage space, you may want to install an extra hard drive or two.
  • You may also want to install a basic, streamlined operating system (such as Ubuntu) on your file server.
2) Keep your computer as a backup. An option related to the one above is to use your computer not as storage space for new files, but, rather, as a backup for your new computer.
  • In other words, keep it around so that you’ll have a functional replacement for your new computer if it should break or suffer an error.
  • If you choose to do this, you will not even need to remove your personal data from the computer – you can just disconnect it and leave it in the closet until it’s needed.
3) Consider installing a lightweight OS like Linux. Another method for getting some use out of an old computer is to install an operating system with exceptionally low system requirements.
  • This allows you to continue using the computer for certain minor purposes – basic word processing, web browsing, simple games, etc.
  • Linux is a free, popular, no-frills operating system with many different variants are often used for this purpose. For example, a Linux system called Puppy Linux is a variety of Linux that has especially low system requirements.
4) Use your old computer as a router. Depending on the wireless capabilities of your old machine, you may be able to re-purpose it as a wireless router so that you’re able to enjoy internet on your smartphone, tablet, or another computer.
  • Many computers have the ability to act as the broadcasting hub for a wireless network. If yours does, be sure that a firewall is installed for security purposes before using your computer as a router.