Recycle your old Computer

As technology has continued to permeate our lives we tend to gather more and more gadgets to both assist and entertain us. With the march of time however, certain tech falls by the wayside in favour of the ‘newer model’. Today we’re looking at uses for the humble desktop or laptop, once its time as your primary system is up.

Sell it
Ok, so this one may have already crossed your mind. With the case of a working laptop or desktop consider not just selling it, but also getting it wiped and then installing a more common Linux distribution. This may take a little longer than merely selling a wiped system, but people may be willing to pay a little extra for a ‘ready-to-go’ system. If there are obvious hardware issues with a system then consider listing as broken, or stripping for parts. Components such as RAM and the CPU, if accessible, can still potentially fetch a decent amount. Check for what similar components sold for on eBay in your country and remember to package carefully!

Components on main board
Photo by Lovro Oreskovic

Build a Gaming Console
With sufficient specifications you might consider giving your old system a new life as a dedicated steam machine. Check out the hardware requirements here. If your system falls short of these specs then don’t despair! Old retro games can be run on emulators on even the lowliest of systems. Lakka is a fully fledged Linux distribution that bundles numerous games onto one system and will even work on a Raspberry Pi! Note that you will still have to find and download the games to play.

Tetris on old computer
Photo by Jason Coleman

Try out a new OS
If you’re keen to get your hands dirty with Linux, or have a hankering to try out Mac OS then your old system might be the ideal candidate. While Hackintosh requirements have become more forgiving in recent years you’ll still need to check if your system is compatible a Hackintosh build. Thankfully there are plenty of guides online to steer you in the right direction. If you found that over time your computer had slowed down whilst running Windows then you may be surprised how fast it can run with a lightweight linux installation such as Lubuntu. or, lighter still, Puppy Linux. There’s almost certainly a distribution that will run for you, regardless of how old your system is. For instance Tiny Core Linux will run nicely on Pentium 2 systems with as little as 64mb of RAM!

Tiny Core linux desktop
Photo by NCReedplayer

Gift to relative or charity
Finally perhaps the easiest and some may say most rewarding thing you can do if none of the above options appeal is to give the system to someone else. Sometimes the easiest solution is the best and this way you help someone else whilst freeing up some space in your own place. If you do decide to gift the computer to a relative remember you may end up having to help out if something happens to break!