If you’re thinking of replacing your current computer with a new model, then it might be tempting to simply throw it away. However, if your existing laptop or desktop was created in the last decade, then not only did you probably spend a decent chunk of change on what was once state-of-the-art, but there’ll likely still be plenty of life left in it too. Junking it just isn’t the smart thing to do in this situation.
However, the same can be said of computers that are on their last legs too. There are all sorts of things you can do to repurpose the tech you’re thinking of consigning to the scrap heap. Before you hastily throw out your old computer, take a look at this list of things you can do to turn its constituent parts into great new household objects.
Make fridge magnets out of keys
If you’ve an old keyboard lying around, then why not get creative with the keys themselves? Pop them out, file down the backs of them so the surface is nice and smooth, then glue on some small magnets. Hey presto, instance fridge magnets that you can use to spell out inspiring (or daft) messages to your loved ones and those you live with.
Alternatively, they can be a top way to help toddlers with their spelling and numeracy too. Add them to a metal tray so they can form words, phrases and basic calculations without the characters getting lost.
Turn a computer monitor into a cat bed
Got an old iMac or CRT monitor you’ve no use for and a cat that’s in need of extra bedding? Instead of chucking away the chunky, outdated monitor, it’s possible to turn it into a comfy new dwelling to house your pet in.
Remove the screws from the back and separate from the front. Then, remove the internal parts (recycle what you can) and attach the front and back together again. Place your cat’s favourite bedding into the now-empty monitor and put in a place where they like to chill out and sleep.
Create key chains from old CPU
If you’re a tech-head who’s looking to show off your PC credentials, then the old CPU from your computer can make for a great keychain. Pop the lid off your computer tower, unscrew the cooler and remove any cables that may be in the way of accessing the CPU. Push down the retention unit and remove the CPU, before removing any thermal paste from it using water and a cloth.
Depending on the age of your computer, your CPU may already have a hole in one of its corners, but if not, drill a hole into it and sand down the sharper remnants that may be left afterwards. Thread a spare metal loop through the hole and attach to your keys.
Make a desk fan using the computer’s fan
Another excellent use of your computer’s contents is repurposing its fan into a USB desk fan. Take a male USB cable and cut off one on end to expose the wiring inside, and then tape over the non-red and black wires with duct tape, as we won’t be requiring these. Take the CPU fan pin and attach the exposed red and black wiring of the USB cable to the fan pin’s corresponding red and black wiring. Plug in the USB to a functional laptop or desktop, and there you go, a simple DIY desk fan to keep you cool during the hotter months!
Floppy disks make great drinks coasters
No assembly required here, but if you’ve got any spare floppy disks lying around, then put them to use by turning them into drinks coasters. Simple yet effective, and another great way to show off your geek prestige.
Make a starter PC for distant family members
We all have a family member who isn’t particularly up to speed with their technology. And despite your best efforts, troubleshooting their problems over the phone never seems to work.
If you’ve a computer that works to a decent standard, then why not gift the tech-averse family member their very own starter PC? Take your old laptop, nuke the drive and reinstall Windows 10. The idea is that you’ll be the administrator and your loved one will be the standard user who can’t install any software without your permission.
Go into Settings > Accounts > Family & other users, and then click ‘Add someone else to this PC’. Type UAC into the Start menu to access the User Account Control for the account; if UAC is off, then the standard user can act like an admin, which isn’t what we want here.
Another good idea before sending the locked-down PC to your loved one is to install a remote-control program like TeamViewer or GoToMyPC. This allows you to take over the system to update it as needs be. What’s more, you can use it to show your family on their own screen how to perform the functions they might have been struggling with. In remote use, make sure to create restore points for future restoration if they’ve really made a mess of getting to grips with their own PC.
Create your own security cam
If your old laptop has an integrated webcam, then put it to use by making your own security camera. Reinstall Windows and download a copy of iSpy, an open-source video surveillance application that works with a variety of webcams. Once you’re set up, you’ll have remote access to whatever’s in view, allowing you to monitor the house, employees, kids, babysitters, pets – basically anything! It’s a bit more conspicuous than buying a top-of-the-range home security camera, but it’s a lot cheaper.
CDL is one of the UK’s leading IT disposal companies, working to help private and public businesses and organisations safely retire and recycle their outdated IT assets. To find out how we could help your business, or more of the latest tech news and advice, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 2846.