The world is advancing at breakneck pace. Technologies get conceptualized, tested and widely implemented - only soon to become obsolete before you have even realized it. No generation from the near or distant past has ever experienced technological development at this rate, and with such a quick turnover from new to old technology - wastage becomes an issue.
One of the gadgets most often affected by these technological "turnarounds" are the computers we all use. Whether it is a PC or an Apple/Macintosh - computers and their associated technologies very quickly become outdated. Because of this, there are a number of people who resort to buying new computers simply to replace their outdated tech.
But wait! Those old computers still may be very serviceable. The fact of the matter is, while old computers may not be up-to-date - they are not necessarily useless. In fact, they can serve a lot of functions and help free up your new computer from mundane tasks. Even the government and big businesses intentionally use older computers for very important tasks. Did you know NASA deliberately used old computers for their space programs because of their reliability? That’s amazing!
So before you give those old units away (or worse, send them to the proverbial recycle bin), let’s take a look at a few options for what you can do with them to save time, money, and resources!
Firewall, Router, or Proxy.
If you have a household or home office that uses multiple computers, that old computer can serve as your very own firewall and router. A dedicated firewall and router server will not only increase your security from the possible outside threats, but also provide a means of monitoring your internet usage at home. For instance, you can effectively block age-restricted sites from ever gracing your kids’ screens. You could even set it up to function as the main data storage unit for general use. That frees up your new Computer's storage space for more specific tasks.
For a small to medium sized office, the old computer can serve as your Proxy Server. Older computers work great for this, as you could keep them running 24/7. Having a proxy server ensures a more secure overhead maintenance of your business’s internet usage. At best, it can even speed up processes for many common requests and data caching.
There are a number of free ways to convert your old unit as your firewall, router, or proxy server. A little research and tinkering is all you need to accomplish this!
Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Dropbox etc are using their own local servers in bulk amount to store the user’s data safe. As a smartphone user, you are already experienced with Google Drive for hiding images and documents but it has limitations in use. For that, you have to buy a premium version for extra space. With a little research, you can set up your own web server too.
Old School Gaming
If you are a gamer with a special interest for retro or vintage games, old computers can become your central gaming hub! Since you will not be using it for business or work, you can set it up for “old school” games. Some older games do not work well (or work at all) using newer operating systems. This is especially true for games that were created with Windows XP and older… even DOS!
Sites like GOG.com offer older games that are already patched and modified to function with newer OS. However, if you have the actual games like disks or CDs, you might find these do not jive well with a newer machine. If your older computer still runs these games just fine, then keep them! Some folks have even made an entire career out of nostalgia gaming on sites like Twitch! Sounds like fun for a family night in!
Experimenting and Testing
Ever had an inkling of trying out other OS than Windows or Apple, but afraid to mess with your current computer? Heard about Linux and all its great software and support? Well, now that you have an older computer that you would not mind to try new things out on, why not put it to good use? It is recommended to try out Ubuntu, which is a very user-friendly Linux distribution.
Maybe you have been a life-long Macintosh user and now want to try PC/Windows? You can actually turn your old Mac into a PC. This is colloquially referred to as turning a PC into a “Hackintosh”. Because there is a bit of tinkering involved, trying this on an old PC allows you the freedom to do so.
Do a Data Wipe First!
Before you go about trying all these options for your old hardware, it is best to conduct a full data wipe of your unit’s data storage. Free apps are complicated and can miss some passes. That’s where RedKey USB comes in. Performing a data wipe with RedKey USB is hassle-free and guarantees to meet GDPR/NIST standards. A full data erasure ensures you have no errant files or fragments that might be lingering in your old computer before you give it new life and purpose.