What to do with your Old PC?

Posted on June 22, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

Many people end up buying a new PC every few years. While this is perfectly fine, their old computer either ends up in the trash or goes completely unused and sits in the attic. Instead of simply never using your PC again, there are tons of options on what you can do with it!

Try a Network Firewall

One of the first and coolest things you can do with your old computer instead of leaving it to collect dust is to turn it into a machine that can actually serve as a security system on your home network. If your old PC has at least 64 MB of RAM, a Pentium Processor, a hard drive, and a CD-Drive, you can create an awesome network firewall. You can do this by using an open-source project called SmoothWall. SmoothWall’s creators actually built this program to be utilized with old computers that people don’t use anymore. How cool is that?! To turn your old PC into a functioning firewall on your network, all you need to do is connect your old PC to the network and connect your new PC to your old PC. Then you can download the SmoothWall ISO file, burn it to a CD, run the CD on your old PC, and you are up and running! Your network is now packing even more protection to keep your data safe.

Old Computer

Make a Linux Box

Alternatively, you can extend your old rig’s life with Linux. You can install Linux, a free open source OS, and utilize all of the fun features that come along with this OS. System requirements vary but there is a version that should install on almost any computer. Now that you have Linux installed on this PC, you can do tons of cool things! For example, you could turn your PC into a server to use on the web, between computers, or to connect to a printer.

Lose the DVR

Another fun option is that you could install a TV tuner into it and turn it into a homemade DVR to record all of your favorite shows! By installing a free program like MythTV, you can schedule recordings, watch normal TV programming, and watch all of your recorded shows. Relating to using your PC as a DVR, you could also simply use it as a giant media device to store all of your photos, videos, and music. Keep in mind that your PC should have a large enough hard drive to store these things along with a decent amount of RAM.

One other wickedly cool option that you have with an old PC is that you can install LinuxMCE. With LinuxMCE, you can wire virtually any device or piece of hardware up to your PC and remotely control it. Just imagine the possibilities. You could control things like your air conditioning, heat, lights, or even keep a close eye on your home for security reasons.

Old PCs are also fantastic to keep around for spare parts. Who knows when you may need an extra CD-Drive, some RAM, or even a spare monitor? If you ever get into building PCs for yourself in the future, these parts can save you tons of money, depending on how old your old computer is.

As you can see, there are tons of things you can do with your old PC. Instead of throwing it out or leaving it to collect dust, you can do amazing things like turning it into a homemade DVR or even using it as a firewall to protect your network. The possibilities are limitless!

This article was written by Karl Stockton for the team at PC Wholesale. Contact them to find out more about PC Wholesale Transceivers.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.


  1. April Atkins says

    The best way to utilize my old PC for me is to have it become my Network Firewall Shield. I certainly would try that one out once I have my copy of the application. It would also be great to have it as a File Storage where everything and anything that my family would love to safe keep be kept safe, while it acts as the network firewall.

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