What To Do with Old Computer Parts

Hopefully many of you will start to upgrade and maintain your new computers if you do not do so already. As you improve your skills and upgrade more of your computer, there will always be old computer parts that you no longer need in your new computer system…. or do you?

Here we are going to answer the question “What can I do with old computer parts?”; what you might need to do to prepare them for re-use and what you could do with those parts that you simply have no further use for. I try to cascade as much of my technology as I can, I still even have an old graphics card or two in storage ready to build something out of them. We are going to look at technical projects as well as some things a little more humorous. Whether you are going to look at computer repair to get this going or simply buy computer parts to replace what is no longer useful; there is always an alternative to throwing computer parts away.

Your Own Back-up Server

Businesses have back up servers in place to provide a duplicate of any data that a business might need. Web hosting companies provide back-ups of back-ups of people websites so that if any of their hardware fails; there is a spare server and all of your information to make sure that your website keeps on going.

So why not have a back-up server in the home using all those old computer parts that you no longer use? If you have documents and letters on a PC or a laptop then having something to fall back on when your hard drive explodes is ideal, no? There are plenty of freeware options for the software to run your very own back-up server so why not save some of your bandwidth from the on-line storage sites and use your redundant components and do it at home.

To do this you will ideally need a separate location to any desktop computers as well as a method of transmitting the data there such as a Powerline Network Kit but these are really cheap to buy and are simple to set up and use. You will also need a basic computer, nothing to powerful is needed for the software I prefer (FreeNAS) but you do have to be able to connect a monitor keyboard and mouse (only for a short time though, so you can use them from your computer) and of course a reasonably large hard drive.

If you take a look at my article on how to set up a back-up server; it will show you everything you need to know.

A Media Centre

With digital media now a massive share of the broadcast media market; people want digital media centres in their lounges and bedrooms as well as at their computer station. If you buy a new media centre at a retailer it will usually be a small box such as the Apple TV pictured.

With a few modifications though any computer can become a media centre in your lounge and although it might not look as flash as the retail models, if it is quiet enough and allows you to stream movies from your computer, the Internet or a DVD to your TV; does it really matter? All you need to transform your old computer parts is a connection from your computer to your TV and many major retailers offer a range of connection cables that should cater all generations of old computer parts.

A PC for the Kids

If you have children who always want to get on your computer to Facebook their first love, maybe it is time to give them their own computer. Most operating systems now come with programs that match all but the gaming PC needs of a child or teenager, so even if you are transferring your Microsoft Windows PC licence to your new computer there are many free operating systems on the Internet that will allow your young adults to access the Internet, research for their next school project (or surf Facebook) and write their next homework paper (or surf Facebook).

Linux is an open source operating system that is developed and maintained almost exclusively by the community of users that have it installed. The core program (or kernal) for the Linux operating system was released to the Internet by Linus Torvalds in 1991 and has spawned a huge number of variant operating systems which would take too long here to go into.

With gaming as an exception though; anything you can get on your Windows PC or Apple OSX computer or laptop; you can either get on Linux or find an equivalent program for. If you need an Internet browser, Chrome is available along with Firefox. If you need an Office package, take your pick from Open Office, Star Office, GNOME Office; the list is endless.

An iBed for Your Cats

If you are looking to an old computer monitor or case into something different then take a look at an article by an author called manxsal. This photographer has found many strange and wonderful ideas for old iMac housings, computer case mailboxes and much much more. Manxsal’s article is on Squidoo and is called Cool Things To Make With Old Computers.