How to Upcycle and Reuse That Old Laptop in 201911th April 2019
Everyone has an old laptop laying around somewhere. It’s slow, decrepit and downright ugly. It lives in the bottom of your wardrobe and the last time you started it up was to fetch your sister’s birthday pictures you took on a Sony Ericsson in 2010.
Now that it’s 2019, it’s time to find a use for that old workhorse. Below you’ll find 5 ideas to repurpose your old laptop.
1. Media centre
There are lots of options when turning an old computer into a dedicated media centre. You could reset it to factory settings. Thereby freeing up tons of space, and then simply use Netflix and play games on Steam with zero lag.
Alternatively, you can remove the laptop screen and mount the body somewhere near your existing television or projector. Connect the laptop to the TV using a HDMI cable, connect a wireless mouse and hey, you’ve got a media centre that’s fit for the 21st century.
2. Kitchen laptop
If you’re a whizz in the kitchen, you’ll know that a large portion of your cooking and baking time is spent reading recipes from your phone, tablet or computer nowadays. If you like premium-brand gadgets, you probably fret every time they get covered in flour, batter, syrup, sauce or jus. Well, with a dedicated kitchen laptop, you’ll never worry again.
3. Make a starter PC for a younger or older person
Who needs a little help getting to grips with technology? Generally speaking, it’s our younger and older relatives that need help with their IT skills. Repurposing your laptop to run a very simple Linux-based system, like Zorin or Elementary OS, will breathe new life into it. These operating systems are simple. Pair them with a cybersecurity app and you will see your old laptop help a family member to thrive in the world of computing.
4. Mount the screen on the wall
Mounting the screen on the wall and hiding the body discreetly provides a wealth of options. Of course, you can create a small media centre (option 1) or a kitchen laptop (option 2) that’s out of the way of the worktops and also very accessible. Or you can dedicate the laptop to another single purpose.
Mounting it in the gym means you have access to all the music you could possibly want for the perfect workout. Installing it in the hallway provides a digital photo frame for all of your favourite family photos.
Alternatively, install the screen in the study and set up a full-screen webpage or app that gives you your vital information for the day – stocks, the weather, traffic conditions, webcams – the possibilities are endless.
5. Discover aliens
We’re serious. Your computer – even the oldest, slowest computer – has plenty of computing power in reserve during its idle moments. Distributed computing projects tie hundreds and thousands of computers together over the internet. They can be anywhere in the world, but these machines work together to solve computationally enormous issues that affect people all over the planet. Questions like:
Are there aliens out there?
How do we cure diseases?
Can we accurately predict climate change?
Is it possible to build a model of the universe?
And many other problems are worked on by this global community of idle computers. Software ties the computers together from every corner of the globe and one of the most famous is the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI@home). The SETI@home project began in the 1990s and the BOINC software allows anyone to contribute their unused CPU cycles to the cause.
So, clean up that old laptop, find a cause that interests you, install the BOINC software and let it run in the background, helping others rather than gathering dust in the wardrobe.