What to Do With Old Computers

By Alexis Lawrence

If you are buying a new computer, don't just throw your old computer away. There are numerous uses for old computers, and any use you can make of an old system is better than sending it to a landfill.

Create a Network

If you do a lot of work on the computer, you may find use for more than one. One possible reason for networking your old computer is to create a printing network. The printer itself will be hooked up to the old computer and the network will connect all other computers in your household to the old computer. Once networked, everyone whose computer is in the network will be able to print from their location without needing a printer of their own. A network can also be used for game play. Once two computers are networked, multiplayer PC games can be played by more than one user, and each player will get his own screen.

Make It a Media Station

Even computers that are several years old generally have the necessary components to run media players, such as Winamp, and standard DVD-playing software. These computers can also easily be connected to a television set with an S--Video, VGA or other type of cord. This makes a computer a useful part of a home entertainment system. By connecting your computer to your television and receiver, you can play any video files that are stored on your hard drive through your television and any music on the drive through your sound system. Getting a wireless mouse and keyboard for the computer will allow you to control the computer from a distance, just like a remote control.

Create Your Own DVR

If you are considering adding your computer to your entertainment system, you may want to consider converting it into a DVR. A video capture card is all that your old computer will need in order to effectively record video from your TV and store it. MythTV is a computer-based DVR program that offers all of the features of a standard DVR, including live TV pause and rewind and a program interface. There are pre-built versions of MythTV for Linux and Mac OS X systems, and the program's creators offer instructions for building your own version for Windows.

Donate or Get a Discount

If you can't find a use for your computer, you can donate it to a school, shelter or library in your community. Many of these nonprofit institutions have a need for computer equipment. If you are planning to buy the same brand of computer, check into computer "recycling" programs. Some computer manufacturers offer a discount for turning in an old computer when buying a new one.