Laptops are handy for doing work or browsing the internet while on the go. However, there comes a time when they just do not deliver the performance you require, or something is broken that does not make for a viable repair.
Rather than dispose of it right away, an old laptop can still serve a purpose in some areas you may not consider.
This guide shows what you ca
n do with your old laptop, and how to make sure you dispose of any parts you might have to get rid of. You can also learn how to make it safe for use, and how you can use it for different things in your home.
Can You Throw Away an Old Laptop?
One thing you need to be sure of is that you do not toss a laptop into the trash.
When you send a laptop that is no good at all, there are reports, which show the recycling of around 1 million laptops equates to saving the same energy that would be used, by a few thousand regular homes each year.
If it does have to go for e-waste, make sure to clean your hard drive properly as your old data can be recoverable.
What Can an Old Laptop Be Used For?
Before you head off and try to find uses for old laptop, you need to assess its condition. Frequently you may discover laptops with failed hard drives or cracked screens.
If this is the extent of the damage, it can be an easy fix. You need to weight up the repair or upgrade cost against that of giving up on using the laptop for another purpose.
Memory upgrades can be cheap, yet if the laptop is too old, you may find yourself restricted to that kind of upgrade.
If Windows 7 is your old OS, then it may not be feasible to upgrade to Windows 10 as this can bring your laptop to a crawl.
What to Do With Old Computers That Still Work?
Here are a few things you can do with an old laptop. Many of these can also be the same for an old computer or mac if you have one.
One reason laptops go to die is that they cannot handle new software and features in the OS. While may know Windows, there are many alternatives and Linux being one of the most useful.
You can find Linux operating systems in countless flavours, and there are a lot of variants designed for old systems. One benefit of installing this opensource operating system on an old PC is that it can wipe all your old sensitive data.
It will then offer you a secure device that comes with tons of free applications. Even Linux, the operating system is free.
All, your favourite apps are available such as Firefox, Chrome and Opera. You can also get Microsoft Office alternatives such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice.
Two of the most common Distro’s you can find are Ubuntu or Linux Mint, although there are many more besides. Some will even run from a USB, so you can see you do not even need a new hard drive.
Turn a Laptop into a Chromebook
Chromebooks are cut down versions of a laptop, and which run ChromeOS. A laptop is more than capable of running ChromeOS as it should have more processing power to do so.
If you use a lot of Google apps, then this can be a great solution as nothing needs to be installed. You can access Gmail, Google Maps and Google Docs, as well as the Chrome browser.
Make a Home Media Center
Home media centres PC’s are often low power computers that sit there idling most of the time. If you do not have such devices as FireStick’s or Chromecast, you can connect your laptop and use this to connect to your favourite streaming sites.
How well you can do this does depend on the age of your laptop, and the fact many TV’s now come with dedicated apps and Ethernet connections.
Make a NAS Storage System
If your laptop or old PC comes with a massive drive of around 500GB to a terabyte, then it is possible to build yourself a NAS storage system.
You may find this is one of the best things to do with an old Laptop. Such storage devices can be used in small businesses or your home where they store files, which need accessing by multiple users.
If you were to purchase one, you could spend a few hundred for a basic NAS, so using your laptop makes economic sense.
The OS may be different, and even this you can get for free (FreeNAS). Like Linux, this is open source, and it works with any other OS or device that may be on your home network.
So long as your laptop meets the basic specs of 8GB RAM and it is a 64 Bit system (most recent computers and laptops are), then you can run a NAS.
There is other software for this use, and Tonido being one of the more popular (Not an OS like FreeNAS). However, no matter which you use, you can access files, namely video across the internet. Tonido goes as far as to create your own ‘Cloud Storage,’ thus you can use this as the place to store your files remotely.
With either, it is possible to use laptops, computers or Android and iPhones to stream video from your home to wherever you are.
How Do You Dispose of Old Laptops
If your laptop is not suitable for any of the above, and you do decide it is time to get rid of it, then you need to do so in a certain way.
Here is a quick rundown of what you need to consider when thinking of recycling your laptop.
You might have data left on the hard drive you still need. Instead of copying it over to another system, you can use Cloud Backup services. OneDrive, Google Drive and DropBox the main three.
It does not matter if you used a Windows laptop or a Macbook. You may have a few applications that limit the number of devices that can connect. Apps such as iTunes, Adobe Suite and many others will not let you connect more than your quota.
Be sure to get the app deactivated on the old computer, or you could find someone somewhere is using your activation.
Wipe or Restore?
No matter if, you can put your old computing device to good use, or you are sending it for e-waste. You need to wipe the old hard drive because deleting data does not get rid of it.
Once you delete something, all the OS may do is delete the first letter and replace it with a $ sign. You can get free recovery software, which can recover all deleted files. Any might be able to recover most of what you deleted.
There are select apps that wipe and rewrite over the same areas to make them unreadable. You can use the built in features in Windows and macOS to reset your computers, yet this focuses more on the OS than personal files.
Sending for Recycling
Depending on how you recycle your computer, the company you send it to may make you aware of the importance of deleting your old data. However, there is one area often an oversight when individuals use their old devices for the above.
No matter if you convert your laptop a Chromebook, you make it a NAS Server or media centre. Even if you install Linux, the device can still be exposed to threats online.
You may find the exposure even worse as a NAS, and home media centre are often left turned on and connected to the internet for extended periods. To be sure, these are highly secure; it is advisable to use a VPN service.
Once you connect to the internet, all your communications will go through military-grade encryption. Therefore, if you are accessing sensitive documents from the cloud, or streaming your latest movie. No one can see what you are doing.
Besides this, a VPN will separate your router and your devices from the rest of the internet. In use, you will find it helps avoid any connection attempts to your home network.
While a NAS storage device might be ideal on your used computer, someone else might like all your movies and decide to download them.