Whether you have decided the time has come to upgrade your old desktop to something new, or you are moving to something a little smaller, you aren’t going to want that old desktop taking up valuable space in your home. After all, you can only keep so much before you become a candidate for the next episode of Hoarders, and I’m not sure if any of you really want to be on that show.
So what should you do with that old desktop sitting there? Any ideas? Luckily, I have several ideas of what you can do with it. Today, let’s discuss what you should do with that old desktop after you upgrade to something new.
First, let’s look at ways you can reuse your existing desktop so it can gain new life and last you, or even someone else, even longer than you originally had hoped.
Give It to a Friend or Family Member
Before you do anything else, talk to your friends or members of your family. Maybe one of them is in need of a computer and doesn’t have the money to buy something new. Your old machine may be just the refurbished desktop they need to stay in touch online on a regular basis. If so, just give it to them. Just make sure you wipe your data off of it first.
Make It the Kid’s Computer
Kids love to play games, but they don’t really understand how to be safe online just yet. They will download anything and in the process the machine will get trashed with spyware and viruses. You don’t want that to happen to your main machine, but you want to expose your children to computers as early as possible. So, why not take your old desktop, reformat it and make it the official computer for the kids. Set each of them up with their own account and teach them how to sign on and off. Show them how to use it and make that machine a tool for learning for your children.
Donate It to a School
Many schools are always in need of a good computer. While they have gotten pickier in recent years about what types of computers they will take, if your machine is halfway decent and can run the software the school requires, they will most likely happily accept it. In most cases, they will even give you a receipt so you can deduct the donation come tax time.
Setup a Server
If giving it away isn’t an option, you could always turn it into your own private server for storing files. Simply disconnect everything from it and place it somewhere out of the way. Using remote desktop you can control it and you can even map drives on your new machine using the hard drive on the old. This is a great way to learn about networking and setup your own small home network that will give you even more space to store files.
Home Theater System
Have you wanted your own media center connected to your television? That old desktop could be the way you do it. Connect it to your television with an HDMI cable and install Kodi on it. From there, you can store movies and television shows and even stream tons of content right to your television all with that aging desktop. Not a bad way to reuse it if you ask me.
Keep as a Backup
If you do have the space and don’t want to ever be down, you could always put it away somewhere safe and dry for a rainy day. Then, if you do run into problems with your new computer, you can always get the old system out. That way you are always connected even if you experience trouble with your new system.
You could always use that old system to play around and expand your knowledge. Try installing Linux on it and running it alongside your new Windows desktop. This will give you the opportunity to play around with a new operating system so you can learn even more about computers and how they work, and it is just plain fun, if you ask me.
Outside of these ideas, you could always use it to keep a door open, or you could open the DVD tray and have a really large cup holder. Desktops are great for holding down paper as well. I know, I’m just being silly now. That’s okay, though. It was fun for a least a moment, wasn’t it? Anyone?
If the repurposing ideas don’t seem to work too well for you, or if your desktop is really old, it may be time to dispose of it permanently. You don’t want it just sitting collecting dust in your home. Let’s examine what you need to do to dispose of it properly.
Erase the Hard Drive
Before you do anything with that old desktop, make sure that you erase the old hard drive. If you don’t, someone could access your files even after you throw it out. So either erase the hard drive or at least open up your desktop and break the chips on the hard drive. While someone could still get your info, it would take a lot more work if it is damaged, meaning it often isn’t worth it to anyone looking to pull some quick information off of a hard drive.
I recommend reformatting the computer using your Windows install disk or if you are using one of the newer operating systems, resetting it back to factory settings. That way it is very hard to glean any info off the drive even if someone does happen to find it.
Pull Any Components You Want
This may work for some while for others that don’t have the experience it won’t. Still, I wanted to bring it up. You may find other uses for some of the components in your old desktop, depending on its age, of course. Inside, you may find that you can keep the DVD drive or the hard drive, and even the RAM may prove useful if you have another similar desktop in your home that you are still using. You can transform these leftover pieces into new external drives with just a simple case and cable, giving you greater flexibility while you work.
So what parts should you consider saving? Here’s a quick list for you to consider. This will, of course, vary based on the desktop and its age.
- Hard Drive
- DVD Drive
- Video Card
- Power Supply
- Floppy Drive
You may find uses for other components as well, especially if you have a system identical or very similar to the one you are getting rid of. If you don’t have experience with this, it may not come in handy, but if you like to tinker, you could collect a nice set of backup components that will serve you well on a rainy day.
Never just throw away an old computer. Old computers contain metals and other chemicals such as silicone that can poison the environment as they break down. If you throw it away, it will simply end up in the local landfill decomposing and contaminating the ground around it. If you must get rid of your desktop, you should always recycle it.
But how do you do that? It’s not like many cities offer computer pick up, after all. While that’s true, it is actually very easy to recycle your machine. Look at the local dumps and landfills in your area. Many of them will allow you to drop off your computer for recycling right there. Often there is a fee for this type of dumping, however, but it is usually rather small.
If that doesn’t work for you in your area, contact your local computer stores. Many of them have deals with recyclers to pick up old computer parts and can take care of it for you. In most cases, these places will take your machine at no charge. All you have to do is bring it to them. These stores will then strip the computer of anything they may find useful and send the rest off to be recycled.
Some big box stores such as Best Buy offer recycling services as well. These stores will even give you a credit for your machine if you choose to buy a new one through them. If you don’t, they will usually still take your old machine and recycle it and there usually isn’t any kind of charge to do it.
As you can see, there are many recycling options out there, so there is really no excuse for you to simply dump it into the garbage. So don’t do it! Be good to the environment and do your small part by recycling that old desktop computer.
There you have it. As you can see these are all great ideas (at least I think so), and they are all relatively easy to accomplish so getting rid of your old desktop isn’t so much of a chore. Remember, before you just cast your old desktop aside, look to see if you can upgrade it instead. If not, try figuring out ways you can repurpose and reuse it instead of just getting rid of it. If you can’t, never just throw it in the trash. Always use proper recycling techniques when getting rid of those old computer systems. After all, you don’t want that thing ending up in a landfill poisoning the water supply someday, do you? I know I don’t.
The time will come when you will have to get rid of that old desktop. Don’t just let it take up space in your house and collect dust. Find a solution to get rid of it so it doesn’t clutter your home and get in the way. In the end, you will be glad you took the extra time to reuse it or dispose of it properly.