Instructables

Things to do with a old computer

Featured
Picture of Things to do with a old computer

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Before you crack it open...

Picture of Before you crack it open...
Updated 31/01/2012
Thanks to MrJentis for some more ideas.

Before you go ripping it open remember that you can reuse the whole computer and not just some of the components.

1.-Install Linux
Linux is an open source OS that you can install on your old computer and use it as a everyday computer, for those of you out there that are not geeks that just basically means its a OS like windows XP that people give away free that you can use. You could do endless things with linux and there is a distribution to suit every computer.

Ubuntu-
This is for some of the better spec computers out there. Its is the most like proper a OS and it is the most user friendly. It can easily do everyday tasks like Surfing and sending email's. I needs:
1 GHz x86 processor
1 Gb of system memory (RAM)
15 GB of hard-drive space
Graphics card and monitor capable of 1024 by 768
Either a Cd/Dvd-drive or a Usb socket (or both)
Internet access is helpful

Ubuntu's system requirements have escalated over the last few released but there is a alternative version based on Ubuntu called Xbuntu

500Mhz x86 Processor (At the very least!)
 256 MiB of system memory (RAM)
 2 GB of disk space
Graphics card and monitor capable of 800x600 resolution


Puppy Linux-
This is a slightly less user friendly version of linux. Is is for those less functional PC's with not as good a spec. It needs:

CPU : Pentium 166MMX
RAM : 64MB
CDROM : 20x and up

Damn Small Linux
OK if none of the above options have worked for you, you must really have a scrappy computer. It is very basic and is not user friendly. It requires
486dx or 100% compatible processor
16mb ram (24mb recommended)
dual-speed CDROM (quad-speed or better recommended) (thats 2x or 4x)
1.44mb floppy drive (for boot floppy, if needed)

There are loads more distrabutions try http://www.linux.org/

Now I have never done the following options before so I can't go into detail on how to do them but you can google them:

Turn it into a server (web, printer, file etc.)
Put a big hard driver in it and make it a jukebox
Put a TV tuner into it and a big hard drive and make it a PVR
Use it as a firewall
Use it as a stress reliever
Automate Your Home
Use it as a answering machine
Make the monitor into a aquarium
Make it into a rendering farm
Trade It in
Put it in your car
Give it away/Donate
There are some more in the comments!
1-40 of 322Next »
nerd747315 days ago

make a linux server!

Peabodylan4 months ago
why can you even find computers to do this with. I've been looking but cant seem to find anything.
JUICER9 months ago
There are a Couple of Other things To do with a PC Box, Make a Biltong Case, A Drying Case for Drying Salted Meat, and a CD Rack

I Love The Instructables.com 3R's reuse Reduse Recycle Look of things
Voltage will sting, but it is the amps that will kill you. You can get a nasty burn from high voltage, but what it takes to kill you is a quarter of an amp across your heart. A twelve volt car battery could give you a lethal jolt, if you got careless.
You need the voltage to get the amps! The resistance of the human body is way to high to get a zap from 12 or even 24 volts.
I think the magic number, is 42.. (no, no reference to Scott Adams). 42V, is where you begin to feel it.. Though, I got a healthy shock when I accidentally bridged a 12V truck battery to GND, but only from the plasma from the arc. (trying to un-bolt a circuitbreaker from an F930 firetruck chassis. Wrench finally loosened the bolt, but it slapped the frame.. BIG spark, and right across the back of my hand.).. the danger, is going in one hand, and through to the other. Hence, why the old Electricians idea, when working with high voltages, Always keep one hand in your pocket!
finton Gelfling610 months ago
"Scott Adams"? I seriously think you mean Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Scott Adams is the creator of the comic strip Dilbert - and, yes, sure, there is a Dilbert strip 42. :]
dla888 90kar085 years ago
24 volts is very hazardous. 120 volts will zap you and jerk you around, while 24 volts will zap you and hold you.
SpantaX dla8885 years ago
24 volts is not hazardous.. you won't even feel it.. unless you touch the power source with your tounge.. the tounge is sensitive, and you can feel 9 volts..
only if it has a high amperage.
dla888 SpantaX5 years ago
AR eyou refering to AC or DC power.
SpantaX dla8885 years ago
up to 24 V - DC over 24 V - AC
awang8 90kar085 years ago
That's right. You need volts to carry the amps across.
I wonder if there's such a thing as an electrical capacitance bracelet or something. Or something you could wear that would absorb some or most of the electricity from a zap, provided you don't touch electric poles and such.
I'm at work, this made me LoL, people looked at me funny...
maybe a layden jar that you could wear?
thats right folks, 90kar09 is spot on. I did the tests and found that around 70 volts is the highest potential a person could sustain with dry hands before the current was too much to hold. 12 Volts simply doesn't have the potential for passing enough current through you (Even if you have wet hands). Only way you have any concern is when you have a inductive load on 12 volts is turned off passing current through you when the magnetic poles collapse.
prodlad (author)  WanderingAuthor5 years ago
to be presise its 60 milliamps
awang8 prodlad5 years ago
But it doesn't usually reach your heart in time to kill you...
right, I've been zapped by the car battery when I was really young. It through me a little ways, but I'm still here!
Yeah...
Derin prodlad5 years ago
120Ah,about 200A cold crank.
ummm, a car battery can deliver about 500 amps on average... so yeah.
That poor computer! What did it do to it's owners to deserve that?? Let them RIP, after you have RIPPED out all the componants, naturally.
prodlad (author)  memyselfand14 years ago
freeze, crash, blue sceen
Ah, the good old BSOD. Nothing like a good error message.
i gt an hp laptop brand new windows 7
Two days later....
BSOD i restarted it it was back to normal

10 minutes later.........

BSOD i restarted it it was back to normal

lol true story


REA cdousley4 years ago
i got 5 BSoDs in 10 minutes the first week i got my computer. good ol' Vista!
Airwolf1 REA4 years ago
Got a BSOD during Vista setup on my new HP laptop, BEAT THAT!
REA Airwolf14 years ago
touché. that takes some skills at failing!
cdousley REA4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
REA cdousley4 years ago
trust me, you dont want a mac. they do a crap job at making durable hardware, and its tedious working with it. buy a decent PC thats at the most 5 years old and install Linux on it if you dont want Windows.
CreativeGeek REA11 months ago
I'm running Fedora 19 MATE on a 7-yr-old computer right now.
The newer Mac OS(s) Can run in any desktop, including The dell demension 9800. Drivers are tuff to come by though, but if you get them all, this desktop will run Mac. Dell will tell you its incompatable, because they want you to run their software. truth is any computer "can" run run Mac OS(s) with the right know how. And no I don't mean drastic hardware changes. Its all in the software.
However, you are virtually guaranteed to be able to run linux on anything.
That's only thanks to iBoot and the OSx86 community. It's all unofficial (and possibly illegal). There's also the thing with some (after-market) mobos don't work too.
dogboy12457 REA4 years ago
i know what you mean by crap hardware. my imac g5 crapped out on me and i took it to get repaired. cost 570$, 500 for new motherboard and 70 for labor. about a year goes by and the same thing happens. what happened is when apple made the motherboard the capacitors on it cant stand the heat of the computer. And instead of the guys fixing the capacitors they just put a new motherboard in it. the problem with that is that it has the same capacitors in it as the ones that broke. however i found an instructable (http://www.instructables.com/id/Imac-G5-DIY-capacitors-repair/) that tells how to replace them. i did that and it has been working fine ever since.
Macs aren't worth it, they have a decent OS, but their hardware is practically impossible to work on by yourself, you'd be better off just building a decent PC and putting some kind of Linux distro on it, good distros to start with if you want rolling-release would be Manjaro, Sabayon, or OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, a good semi-rolling distro is Debian Unstable, and then good standard distros are Debian Stable, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Mint, or Mageia.
pichu1994 REA2 years ago
Ha! I'm so good, i actually messed up the BSOD. When it came up, all the words were scrambled and cut off and all that good stuff. I now run Linux.
Vista was an abortion from the start. Xp was alright for what it was but, Windows 7 isn't all that bad, even though its a re-tooled Vista.
1-40 of 322Next »
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!