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5 uses you hadn't thought of for your old computer

Do you have an old computer and don't know what to do with it? Selling it, using the components for other equipment or recycling it can be some of the quickest options to get rid of that old laptop that you have stored in a drawer or that computer that is still collecting dust under the desk. However, and if the PC still turns on and works, you can give it other uses that you probably hadn't thought of, but which are really useful.

Although old computers do not have the same capacity or performance as current PCs, there are simple alternatives to give them a second chance and these, moreover, do not require high performance. For example, you can turn it into an emulator for games or a server. And all this, moreover, without the need for additional devices.

Nor is it necessary to spend money to give your old computer a second life. There are plenty of free and open source platforms and programs for you to use without restrictions and without spending a penny. These are five perfect examples of what you can do with your team.

Give it a new life thanks to Chrome OS

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash Converting an old laptop into a Chromebook is the most ideal option to take advantage of that old and apparently useless PC. Chrome OS is an operating system that can work perfectly with few resources and can be useful for office tasks or internet browsing.

There are several options for turning an old PC into a Chromebook. For example, you can try using Chrome OS Flex. This is Google's new operating system based on Chrome OS and designed precisely for those obsolete computers. Although it has some limitations, such as the inability to use Android apps, it is a good way to give it a new life.

However, you must bear in mind that to install this operating system it is necessary to meet a series of requirements. Among them: having a USB with up to 8 GB of memory and that the PC has a minimum of 4 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. You will also need a computer where Chrome is installed to download the operating system and transform the USB into a boot disk.

After checking the requirements, it is only necessary to follow three steps. The first is to download the 'ChromeBooks Recovery Tool' extension from within Chrome. Then plug in the USB and follow the steps in the recovery program window, this will create a Bootable USB with Chrome OS Flex. The second step is to plug the USB into the old PC and start booting from the storage device. You can do this by shutting down your computer and entering BIOS. Finally, follow the on-screen installation steps and set up Chrome OS Flex on your computer. You can get more information about the process on the Google help page.

Turn your old computer into a NAS to store photos and files in your own cloud

If your computer does not meet the requirements to install Chrome OS Flex or you do not think it is a viable option or that you are going to use, you can bet on turning your old PC into a NAS. This will give you the possibility to store images, documents or any other type of files and access them from any device. That is, you can use your computer as a personal Dropbox.

There are many free and simple tools that allow you to transform your PC into a cloud storage server. The most useful; FreeNAS, now called TrueNAS CORE. This operating system adds more options than being able to store files in an OpenZFS system, which improves compression and allows better storage optimization. In addition, it is open source and has a large community, something that can be useful to find solutions, tricks or additional tools to fully experience the platform.

The steps for its installation are similar to those of any other operating system. It is necessary to create a boot disk through a CD or USB and follow the processes that TrueNAS indicates on its website.

Use it as a media center

Using an old PC for entertainment is also a very good idea to give it a second life. There are tools, such as Plex, that allow you to create a multimedia server in order to access series, movies, videos or other types of playable content, from any connected device, including our TV. Plex, in fact, is the most suitable option, since it is free and easy to use.

Installing this platform is really simple. You just have to access its website from your old PC, choose the operating system, download the program and install it following the steps. Then, you can configure both the quality and other playback parameters, such as the possibility of creating libraries to upload the multimedia files and make the content more organized.

To play the content hosted on Plex from any device, such as a Smart TV or a smartphone, you just have to download the app in the respective application store and log in with the account that you have configured during the installation process on the old PC. If your TV is not smart, you can always connect your PC via an HDMI cable and play the content.

Transform your old PC into a retro console

Another option to take advantage of an old PC as an entertainment center is to turn it into a retro console, with fun games that consume few resources. To do this, it is possible to make use of the multiple emulators that we can find on the net, and the best manager for these emulators is RetroArch. It is free and open source, and it can be installed on a large number of operating systems, including those released years ago, such as Windows XP or even Windows 200, and offers a wealth of features and options for users to use. users can adjust the parameters to their liking.

To play, it is only necessary to download the different available emulators (on the platform they are called Cores), load them to the content directory and run them. In the RetroArch forums, there are also many posts with suggestions, functions and solutions to the most common doubts and errors among users.

Use your old computer as a surveillance center

If you have cameras installed in your home or are thinking of buying them to improve your home security, using your old computer as a surveillance center can also be a good idea. There are cheap cameras that can be connected via WiFi, as well as programs that allow you to see what the surveillance cameras capture from your computer. Netcam Studio, for example, is a platform that allows you to preview from your computer with an intuitive interface. It also has a free version that allows you to synchronize up to two cameras.

In this way, the old PC can be located in an area where members of the household can see what is happening in other rooms or in the garden at all times, leaving the applications that usually include the devices to be able to preview when they are away. From home.