What to do with your old PC

After installing a new pc, we are often asked “what can I do with the old one?”

So here are ten things you can do with an older working pc.

  1. Give it to the kids
    Youngsters may take to technology like ducks to water. Rather than letting the little darlings loose on your main computer with their wacky wallpaper, relinquish the reins on the old machine instead and let any worthy kids you know do their worst to it.
  2. Give it to a relative
    Be honest. Do you have a technophobic Aunt who would be grateful for your old PC and monitor? Do her a favor by reinstalling Windows and loading a little useful software first, including an Antivirus program. Then set it all up for her and get her online.
  3. MP3 or video jukebox
    If you have accumulated a sizeable collection of digital music files in MP3 format, you may well record them on CDs so you can play them on your home stereo system. But why not turn your old PC into a dedicated jukebox instead?

    Just hook it up to your stereo system’s line-in socket with a simple audio cable

  4. Digital video recorder
    Are you intrigued by those hard disk-based video recorders but don’t want to splash out? Not to worry – use your computer instead. So long as it has a TV tuner card and access to a TV aerial, it should be able to receive and record television programs.

    Connect the graphics card to your telly. Most TV tuner cards ship with basic program-recording software.

  5. Games platform/video arcade
    How about turning your old PC into a computer games console? Be aware that the PC may need a high specification, especially its graphics card, but it will mean that games can be kept separate from other computer activity.

    Alternatively, install emulation software such as MAME and play less demanding classic arcade games instead.

  6. Recording studio
    Connect a keyboard to your computer’s MIDI port and you can make a racket – or record a masterpiece. Results depend as much upon the quality of your sound card as your musical ability but, with a little sequencing software, anyone can produce passable multi-track music. Plenty of memory helps with real-time recording.
  7. Video editing suite
    In a similar vein, a PC makes an excellent video editing platform, especially if you have a digital camcorder and a modicum of talent. A high specification helps – again, memory matters most – and a sizeable hard disk is vital as this determines how much raw video you can store and work with. A recordable CD or DVD drive is a bonus if you want to share your finished work.
  8. Networking
    Setup a simple home network with cable or wireless connections and convert a computer into a simple share server for files. Share printers, photos, documents, music etc.
  9. Internet Terminal
    Consider setting up your old system as a dedicated surfing machine. The idea here is to remove all the extra software and have antivirus and your internet browser. Maybe locate near the kitchen for online cooking menus for the new master chief.
  10. Donate it
    Your surplus system could find a new lease of life in the charities eg: Schools, Churches or Clubs. The Jimboomba Rotary Club is organizing a shipping container of donated old PC’s to be delivered to Vanuatu for schools. Contact your local charity and see if they can use your old system.

One final Note:
It is advisable to backup you old data, then delete / format, before disposing of any PC, hard drives, floppies or CDs / DVDs, etc.
This will reduce your information finding it’s way into the wrong hands and possible identity theft.

Martin Foster (Logan)