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What can i do with an old laptop? Answered

i have recently aquired a new desktop and am stuck with an oldish laptop, what can i make from it?


A spare low-power processor, with screen and network hardware already built in, can be a useful thing.

Use the laptop as a remote terminal for the desktop, so you can take advantage of the higher-powered machine without having to sit in front of it. Hook 'em both up to your local network, then use either Windows' built in remote control system or a VNC client and server (I've used TightVNC).

Or, in reverse: Dedicate the laptop to your stereo system as a music/multimedia player, and control *it* remotely from your desktop machine so you don't have to walk over to it to pick the next album or webcast or whatever.  (This could be combined with the "digital picture frame" suggestion, of course.) That's the approach I took. Though now that I have a standalone media player, I may have to think of something else to do with the laptop.

Or make the laptop a printer/storage server (maybe with a big USB-attached disk drive plugged into it), again reached via network from your other machine(s). The fact that laptops are relatively low power when inactive (especially if you can configure them for "wake on LAN activity") makes them a fairly good choice for a machine that mostly waits to be called upon.

Or, as noted, find someone to give/donate/sell it to. I like the donate idea, myself. Some of the organizations which provide low-cost adaptive technology for handicapped users can make use of cast-off PC equipment. And donations to charity may save you a few bucks on your taxes, if you can figure out what a reasonable value is for the donation. (Fairly safe: See what similar machines have actually sold for -- not what's been asked for them, but the price on those which actually got bought -- on eBay. If yours is in equivalent condition, that can be considered a reasonable "fair market valuation".)

Remember that even an oldish laptop has more computing power than many mainframes did a few decades ago. Windows, and sloppy applications, waste a lot of that power. How hard are you willing to work to write custom code?

If you would like to install a Linux distribution on your laptop that will be a nice project!

Build a silent digital picture frame that boots and runs from a CD such as I have done here:


One of these days I need to update that page.  I would create a instructable on it but there are already quite a few on building picture frames (although most use the hard drive which is way too noisy in my own opinion).

Would anyone be interested in this as a new instructable or has it already been covered to death?

Give it to a kid that needs a laptop and doesn't have one.

FOURTHED! I am the object of charity, myself! See the difference my friend made in my life?!

i gave my old laptop to a friend doing V.C.E. He really appreciated  it.


8 years ago

Make a projector.

Low power house server ? Mailserver ? 

Sell it / have it recycled / donate it (if you can't think of anything). Or put it in a cupboard in case you can, later.