Computers and the technology that powers them are evolving all the time, and newer games and applications are built to take advantage of this power. This means that after a few years of use, your computer is likely showing signs of ageing and it’s probably not as fast and useful as it was when it was new. When this happens and you look at replacing it, you might wonder what you can do with the old one. Wonder no more, because here are a few great ways you can breathe some new life back into your old computer and make it useful around the home.
A Media Centre
One of the more common uses of an older computer is to turn it into a media centre or media server. Connecting it to your TV via HDMI and installing a purpose-built media centre application like Kodi or similar means you can watch all your favourite media files and streaming services using your old computer. If you’re using high-resolution video or making use of the on-the-fly video transcoding features that media centre software applications like Kodi and Plex have, you might consider adding in a bit more RAM and a budget-friendly display card to help with the computing required, like Intel’s new Arc graphics, which you can click here to learn more about.
Turning a couple of cheap webcams and an old computer into a home security system is pretty easy. There are a few great security-centric DVR applications that support all the features of a purpose-built system like motion detection, remote viewing and live SMS or app notifications. Some of the more popular ones are available for free and have support for IP cameras and PTZ cameras, so you can turn them into a comprehensive home security video recorder.
A File Server
If your old computer is a desktop computer, it might be a good idea to repurpose it as a file server. There are several free and easy to set up operating systems that offer all the features of a professional file server or NAS (network attached storage) without costing very much at all. All you’ll need to do is put a couple of big hard drives in the system, consider a way to keep the data backed up and you’ll have your very own home file server to store your photos, documents and other digital files. With a bit of know-how and an operating system like NextCloud, you can even make your file server accessible anywhere in the world.
The best part about an old computer running at home is that it doesn’t have to be dedicated to just one use. For example, it’d be a little bit more complex, but you could easily make your old computer serve as both a media centre and a file server. Of course, if you have no use for your old computer, you could always donate it to a charity or a less-well-funded school in your area. They’re sure to find it useful!