Friday, May 11, 2007

7 Uses For an Older Laptop

After converting my wifes old laptop into a wireless, digital picture frame, I was inspired to write up different things you can do with an older laptop that you no longer use.

Here's my top Seven Uses For An Older Laptop:
7. Recycle - Clean your hard drive (there's a good how-to on ZDNet) and then take it to a recyling center. Here's a good resource for finding a recycling center near you.

6. Donate to Charity or to family/friends. This is a no-brainer and if you give it to charity or schools there are sometimes tax benefits to doing so.

5. Games Media and/or Music - You could install Mame and run games on your laptop or you could install a free jukebox software program and make it into a music jukebox. If it's powerful enough, install an HTPC front-end software like MediaPortal or GBPVR and use it as a media player for DVD's, Music and videos. It could be an extender that networks with your "server PC".

4. Roll back the Operating System to a less power-hungry operating system. Linux will do the trick.

3. Upgrade Hardware - it might just be in need of more memory for the applications it is running. If it can handle a memory upgrade, sometimes this is the cheapest and easiest route to go. Another useful hardware upgrade is adding a wireless card for wireless internet access.

2. Strip it for parts. You can extract the DVD player to be used in another
PC if it is worthy. You can also strip the hard drive and buy a hard-drive enclosure. I've done this with an old laptop and use the hard drive as an external, backup hard drive.

1. Digital Picture Frame - this is of course my personal favorite since this
is what I chose to do. It was fun, useful and is an attention-getter when we have guests over. For more on how I converted my wifes old laptop into a digital picture frame Read My Recent Post on How I Did It.

If you have any other ideas for old laptops, let me know in the comments.