Five Uses For An Old Laptop

Let’s face it, technology moves so fast these days that our devices tend to become outdated and require replacement quite frequently. If, like me, you don’t love the idea of creating this type of waste, there are a number of things you can do to repurpose your old laptop. Here are my top five recommendations for old laptops:


1. Give it a refresh

A while back, I wrote a piece about repurposing your old desktop and recommended giving it a little refresh so it can become useful again. The same principles apply to your laptop. Basically, you’ll want to start by doing a quick hardware tidy. This includes replacing or repairing any broken parts and cleaning any dust from the keyboard using a can of compressed air. Once the hardware is ready to go, move on to the software by cleaning up any unused programs or reformatting the hard drive. Personally, I prefer to reformat because this gives you a truly fresh start but remember that you need to back up first!


If the system is still running too slow after a reformat, you might want to try a lighter operating system, like Ubuntu.


2. Donate it

If you tried to breathe new life into your old laptop by giving it a refresh and found that it’s still not quite as useful to you as you’d like, you might consider donating it. Do some research on this topic and find a charity that accepts these devices and gives them to those in need. Just remember to reformat the device before you pass it along to ensure that none of your data is stored on it.


3. Turn it into a media center

If you enjoy DIY projects and don’t have a use for a refreshed laptop, try turning it into a media center. To do this, you’ll want to reformat your system and load the Kodi software on it. If you’re feeling ambitious and prefer a neat set-up, you can even remove the monitor from the laptop and mount the bottom on a sliding track concealed behind your TV. Finally, you’ll need to connect your new media center to your TV using an HDMI cable.


If this project doesn’t strike your fancy, there are a number of other DIY projects that will allow you to repurpose your old laptop. For example, you can turn it into a digital photo frame or a tablet. Do a quick Google search to find one that excites you.


4. Gut it for parts

Another way to repurpose your old device is to gut it for parts. While it might be too far gone to be useful as a whole, you can probably extract a few useful pieces before you recycle the rest. For example, you can detach the monitor and turn it into an external monitor for your new laptop. You can also remove the hard drive and turn it into an external hard drive with the help of an enclosure.


5. Sell it for parts

If your device is just too far-gone or tinkering with electronics isn’t up your alley, you can still minimize the waste by selling that old laptop for parts. While it might be in pretty rough shape, there’s a very good chance that there are salvageable parts that someone else might be interested in. Again, make sure you wipe your hard drive before you part with your old laptop to protect your sensitive data.


Once you have a plan for that old laptop, make sure you replace it with one that can keep up with you for a while and has a good reputation for reliability. The Staple EasyTech experts can help you find just the right one.

By Mike Agerbo

February 21, 2017