Over the last few years, desktops, laptops, and tablets have become some of the most popular presents of the holiday season, and these gifts are often replacements for existing systems. If your household receives new computers during the holidays this year, throwing out your old systems should be the last thing on your mind.
Depending on the age and the specs of your old computers, you may be able to reconfigure them into a new functionality. Here are some ideas in this regard:
Family Cloud Server
Just about any PC can be turned into a file server that can transform your home Wi-Fi network into a private cloud system. With the right software configuration, your old PC can be turned into a secure server that your family can use to share and synchronize files such as music, video, photos, documents, messages, and more. The two most commonly used applications for this purpose include OwnCloud and FreeNAS.
One of the reasons Microsoft stopped developing the Windows Media Center platform is that many users did not warm up to the idea of using their personal computer as a home theater media hub. The best way to enjoy a digital home theater is to have a dedicated PC as the media center, and your old computer can handle this with software such as Kodi, Moovida, Plex, and MediaPortal.
Video Game Streaming
If you were lucky enough to find a PC gaming rig under the Christmas tree, you could turn your old desktop or laptop into a Steam in-home streaming device. This Steam feature works with both Ethernet and Wi-Fi networks, and it lets old computers play modern games through the magic of streaming.
Student or Kid’s PC
Older desktops and laptops that are sluggish in terms of performance can be configured as child-friendly PCs for educational or entertainment purposes. Linux-based operating systems such as Qimo and Edubuntu can inject new life into old computers and are loaded with games and educational software.