What to Do with Old Laptops? | Five Simple Ideas That Work!

What to Do with Old Laptops

Have you found your old laptop covered with dust while decluttering today? And you were struggling with a dilemma on whether to keep it again in the drawer or just simply get rid of it? Wait, don’t overthink. Please go through this article; I’ve got a better solution for this. 

Usually, a laptop does not last longer than 3 to 5 years. Even if it works, it is not as good as it used to be. So you buy another brand new laptop and keep the old ones in a closet or a drawer or the storeroom. You might be surprised to know that there are many useful things you can do with your old laptop.

Let’s find out what to do with an outdated laptop and how it can change our everyday lifestyle and make it easier. I promise you would think, why you haven’t thought this way before. 

If you have already decided what to do with the aged laptop, then there are some works that you need to do before turning your laptop into anything else or selling it. 

Steps to Follow after Taking Out Your Old Laptop from Closet:

1. Clean your laptop properly with a dry cloth or make a solution (50% White Vinegar and 50% water) and apply it to the laptop very carefully. 

2. Take all the dust away from the charger and cables.

3. Charge the laptop to 100% and turn it on.

4. Refresh your laptop. 

5. Now, find out what data you have kept on this laptop.

6. Back up all the data and then delete them permanently from your used laptop.

7. Connect the laptop to the Internet and check whether your browser has any saved data or not. 

8. Recheck the recycle bin and delete all data permanently. 

9. If you are still signed in to any account, then sign out and make sure you remove the account. 

Note: You can skip stepping no 5 to 8 if you want to make your laptop storage and keep all personal information there.

What to Do With Old Laptop?

The things that you can do with a used laptop and get the maximum benefit is given below.

Turn Your Old Laptop into Security Camera

You must have thought many times about having a security camera on your house. Home security cameras are essential for guarding your property and keeping a watch on your children and pets while you are not present. When you can do these things with your used laptop, then nothing can be better than this. You can quickly turn your laptop into a security camera and use it both in your home and office. 

Suitable Software for Turning an Old Laptop into a Security Camera: 

There are many software that you can use for this purpose, such as:

  • Yawcam
  • iSpy
  • Zoneminder
  • motionEyeOS
  • SecuritySpy
  • EvoCam
  • FLIR Cloud Client

Among all of them, the most popular one for Widows is Yawcam or Yet Another Webcam. Some people also use iSpy and SecuritySpyZoneminder and motionEyeOS are suitable for Linux Operating systems. If you used macOS then, go for Evocam. Lorex and Swann cameras have color night vision technology for extra surveillance. Internet Protocol cameras, also known as IP cameras, can be used to add and use cameras in various areas around the house. Without the use of a USB cable, an IP camera can be managed remotely via the Internet.

How to Turn Your Old Laptop into a Security Camera:

  1. Here we are going to use Yawcam because it offers good functionality even it is free.
  2. To access your power settings, hit the battery icon in the bottom right corner of your screen and select Power & sleep settings. Make sure that the Never option is selected in the settings. After you’ve plugged it in, turn it off.
  3. To add and use your laptop webcam or USB camera, go to Settings > Device > Change to > Integrated camera.
  4. In the preview pane, you may examine your surveillance camera footage.
  5. You have the option of saving your video output to your hard disk or FTP uploading it to your web cloud server. Alternatively, you can use HTTP to upload your video feed to the web. These output options can be enabled in your security camera’s primary control panel.
  6. The Stream option is one of the output options you can enable. This allows you to set up a live video streaming monitor so that you can keep an eye on the feed from your security cameras while you’re on the go.
  7. The motion detection recording can be customized. The software will take image snapshots, and you can set up email alerts to be notified when this happens.
  8. Now you are all set to use your new security camera made out of a timeworn laptop.

Note: Yawcam does not provide direct audio recording, and only CCTV camera footage will be captured.

You can also watch this video:

How to turn your laptop into a home security camera.

Benefits:

  1. You are able to curb criminal activity and vandalism both in your home and office. 
  2. As you have a stream option, you have remote access and can check who is watching your video feed. If you notice a viewer, who isn’t supposed to be there, toss them out or ban them from the webcam stream.
  3. You can set up password protection on your stream output to ensure no one can watch it.
  4. It provides you with the motion detection feature. This minimizes hours of useless, non-applicable video, which would otherwise consume a lot of memory and storage

Create a Chromebook from an Old Laptop

We know that Chromebook helps to do the work of computer in an easier and quicker way. They use Chrome Operating System that is secure and user-friendly. You can easily convert your old unwanted laptop into very useful stuff. 

What is Chromebook? Watch this video.

The Things that You will Need to Create a Chromebook: 

What you’ll need is the Chromebook Recovery Utility in addition to the CloudReady image file, which you can download from the website. This Google program allows you to make recovery disks for Chromebooks, but it can also be used to install Chrome OS on your PC (through CloudReady). To work, you’ll need the Chrome browser. To write the installer to, you’ll also need an empty USB flash drive (or SD card). This should contain at least 8GB of storage space, but it is better if you use 16GB. On Amazon or Alibaba, you can get it for a few dollars.

How to Create a Chromebook from an Old Laptop

  • Select the download file (32-bit or 62-bit) from Neverware.com. The CloudReady download should not be unzipped. If you unzip this now, there might be an issue.
  • Open the Chrome web browser, then install and execute the Chromebook Recovery Utility on a blank USB flash drive. Please do not press the Get Started button. Instead, select Use local image from the gear icon.
  • Select the media you wish to use for the installation from the saved file and click Open.
  • Make sure you’ve selected the correct drive before pressing the Continue button.
  • Next, double-check that the information on the following page is correct. If that’s the case, click Create Now.
  • Accept the prompt from the User Account Control (UAC).
  • It should just take a few minutes to create a recovery image; don’t unplug the USB drive during this time. Restart your computer and boot from the USB disk after it’s finished. The CloudReady installer will begin to download and install. To begin the installation process, select your language, keyboard, and network, then click Continue.
  • You’ll need to agree to install Flash during the installation process, then login into your “Chromebook” with your current Google account. If you don’t have a CloudReady account or wish to create one, go to More options and select Create a new account.
  • You’re now ready to use the new Chromebook that you have created out of an old unwanted laptop.

You can watch this video:

How to Create a Chromebook from an Old Laptop

Benefits:

  1. The most significant advantage of a Chromebook is remote desktop access. You can run any program you want directly from your Chromebook if you download Chrome Remote Desktop to a home PC and leave it running. Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, the entire Microsoft Office suite and even high-end software like Blender or Apache Spark fall under this category.
  2. When using a Chrome OS, you rarely have to worry about harmful files because the Chrome OS has built-in virus and malware protection that is constantly updated to the current version.
  3. Users of Chromebooks can create supervised accounts to track or regulate their children’s internet activity. As a result, the Chromebook is an excellent laptop for families.
  4. Chromebooks update themselves in the background automatically. As a result, your gadget is always up to date and performing as expected.
  5. Using recent Chrome OS, you can also use android apps and play various types of games, even with Emulator. 

The best games for Chromebook are: 

  • Alto’s Odyssey
  • PUBG Mobile
  • Bullet Force
  • Baldur’s Gate II
  • Entanglement
  1. With all-new Chromebooks, you get 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years. A Chromebook comes with a good quantity of free cloud storage.

Convert Old Laptop to NAS (Network Attached Storage)

Many of you have seen the uses of NAS systems in petty businesses. It is file storage that allows multiple users and various client devices to access data stored on a centrally managed disk. 

 A standard Ethernet connection connects users on a local area network (LAN) to the shared storage.

The best software for this purpose: 

  • FreeNAS
  • OpenMediaVault
  • XigmaNAS
  • Openfiler
  • Rockstar
  • Amahi

The Following Are The Bare Minimums:

For FreeNAS:

  • 64-bit processor with multiple cores.
  • Network port
  • 8GB RAM HDD for storage
  • Boot Drive: 8 GB (SSD recommended)

For OpenMediaVault

  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4 GB disk space

How to Make a NAS from Out of a Laptop:

  1. Go to FreeNAS’s website and download the most recent stable version of the technology (FreeNAS 9.10) onto your used laptop.
  2. Once you have finished downloading, unzip the file.
  3. Build a USB bootable drive and use the Microsoft Windows USB/DVD download tool.
  4. Now boot with the FreeNAS installer, but before that, restart your laptop.
  5. If you are confused about how to do it, simply take information from the internet mentioning the model of your laptop.
  6. After following the above steps, you will be prompted to install FreeNAS as a partition or embedded installation. To complete the installation process, select one of these.
  7. After you’ve completed the installation, your laptop should display a server interface where you can configure the login and passwords for connecting from other devices. Also, keep an eye out for the current server’s IP address, as you’ll need it to access the NAS from other devices.
  8. Open a browser, type in the IP address of the NAS server, and the username and password. By Now, You should be able to access the information on your laptop.  
How to Make a NAS from an Old Laptop.

Benefits:

  1. You have data Protection with more storage space.
  2. Cloud Storage for Individuals.
  3. For data backup, you don’t need to be stressed as it is going to be automatic.
  4. NAS can be used as a web server, media transcoder, UPnP streaming hub for your PS3 and Xbox, and even a virtual desktop.

Use Old Laptop as a Digital Photo Frame

 If you find that your laptop is too old to turn it into a NAS or a security camera, turning it into a digital photo frame can be an alternative option. 

How to Turn an Old Laptop into a Digital Photo Frame:

  1. Before beginning, double-check that the frame is large enough – widescreen laptops will exacerbate the problem. Additionally, avoid turning screens upside down or sideways, as most are only designed to be viewed in one manner.
  2. Take apart your laptop! Because each model is unique, you’re on your own here.
  3. Remove the top panel to reveal the main mounting points of the screen.
  4. Most keyboards can easily be removed; you will just have to remove some screws. The display’s connection is revealed once the display has been moved out of the way.
  5. At this time, you can disconnect the connection and separate the complete display. If feasible, free up any extra ribbons, but be extremely careful not to harm them! Position everything within the frame and make sure it’ll fit and the ribbon will reach. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to remove the chassis. 
  6. We’re keeping things simple: the screen will be held in place with a few blocks and hot glue. To secure the screen, we’re using the screen’s native mounts.
  7. Secure the chassis with a baton screwed in place; because the chassis extends beyond the frame, another baton will be required at the top. We’ll also use straps to keep everything in place.
  8. If you’re using a flash drive to run this, you’ll need to transfer your Windows license and install slideshow software like Irfanview.
  9. The final work of art! If you need to manage the frame, the best option is to utilize a wireless keyboard and mouse.
  10. Your digital photo frame is now prepared to display it on the wall.
How to Turn an Old Laptop into a Digital Photo Frame.

Benefits: 

  1. A digital photo frame is going to enhance the beauty of your room. You can keep it in your bedroom, drawing room or even in the kitchen. 
  2. Whoever wants to buy a good painting of a famous artist, but cannot afford it, can keep the picture on his laptop screen. Again car enthusiasts can keep pictures and models of various kinds of cars.
  3. Another good thing about a digital photo frame is that you can easily change the photos in it. Can keep a photo for a day and then change it another day as your wish. 
  4. Instead of keeping a picture, you can also keep a note, prayer, or recipe that you want to memorize. It will help you memorize things quickly. 

Turn Old Laptop into Media Center

It is a straightforward process to make a media center from a laptop. 

Here’s How to Convert a Laptop into Media Center:

  1. Necessary components and tools:
  • Motherboard
  • Processor
  • RAM
  • 2x Flash Drives
  • Acrylic or Perspex
  • Bolts with nuts
  • Side Cutters
  • Drill
  • Hole saw
  • Nylon tube
  • Remove the motherboard from the laptop. Then remove all cords and connectors from the system.
  • Cut according to proper measurement. Use hole saw to cut CPU fan. 
  • Assemble all the components. Connect the power supply, as well as the video and audio cables.
  • Install Openec software and boot it. 
  • Now, you can use your laptop as a media center. 

This video shows the whole process with a computer. But you can do the same with a laptop.

How to Convert an Old Laptop into Media Center.

Benefits:

1. You can now watch movies, series and anime on it. If you connect it with a projector, then it is much better.

2. You can listen to music and do not need to carry a heavyweight.  

Sell or Trade In Your Old Laptop

If your laptop is relatively healthy, then you can think about selling it and making some cash. You might not expect that how easy it is. Before selling a laptop, the first thing that comes into your mind is how much I get after selling my used laptop. 

Here’s The Guide:

There are many apps or just online websites which will give you an idea about the current market price of your laptop. You need to put all the values they ask for, and then you get to see the result. 

How to Check the Price of a Used Laptop:

1. For checking out the price, go to “Gadget Value.com”.

2. Give information about your laptop. Such as Manufacturer, Year, RAM, processor, Speed of Processor, HDD, CD Drive, Graphics Card, Screen size, Extra features, etc. 

3. Keep clicking on “Continue”. After taking all the information, they will provide you with the approximate market value.

Use Parts and Accessories to Build a New One

You can also use the reusable parts and accessories to build a new laptop. Suppose you need a customized laptop for your programming course or for gaming stuffs and you want to build this laptop by yourself. In this case, you may take some parts/accessories from your old laptop and assemble them in creating a new one.

10 Tips to Make Your Data Unrecoverable Before Selling or Recycling or Donating:

Before you give your laptop to someone permanently, you need to make your laptop’s data unrecoverable so that none can have access. 

We are going to use Glary Utilities software and Driver Booster. Glary Utilities provides several system tools to help you safeguard your computer. It has a registry cleaner, a disc cleaner, a memory optimizer, and a startup manager, among other things. And Driver Booster is a free Windows driver updater tool that detects and updates outdated drivers regularly.

How to Make Your Data Unrecoverable:

  1. Install Glary Utilities software (free). Just put all the stuff on your laptop here. This software is going to scan and delete all the data of the browser (password or login info) 
  2. Update drivers using Driver Booster.
  3. Go to Windows, then “Settings“, later go to “Update and Security” and Download. 
  4. Back up your data.
  5. Go to “Files Shredder” of the software Glary Utilities and wipe of the drives ( except C drive) 
  6. Remove Credentials. 
  7. Now it is time for defragmentation (Hard Disk). Go to the “Optimize & Improve” option of Glary Utilities and select “Disk Defrag”. While doing this process, keep your laptop plugged in. 
  8. Reset your laptop. To do that, Go to “Settings“, then “Recovery” and then “Get started” You will be given options whether to keep files or remove everything. Select” Remove everything“. Check all the options. After the laptop has started to reset, leave it alone. This process takes time.
  9. Remove unused drivers. For this purpose, use “Driver Booster”. Open this software, go to Settings, Click on “Clean Unused Driver”. Now uninstall all the software that you installed in this process (Glary Utilities, Driver Booster) 

If you do all these things, the buyer won’t be able to recover your data. This process will make your laptop faster than before.

How to Sell Used Laptops Online:

  1. After getting to know the current market price, it is time to look for a suitable place where you can sell your used laptop.
  2. Here are the best marketplaces to sell used laptops(2021): 
  • eBay
  • Letgo
  • QuickLaptopCash
  • NextWorth 
  • SellBroke
  • OfferUp
  • Swappa
  1. Prepare your device (Follow the tips given above).
  2. Take pictures of your laptop from a different angle with optimum light. Try to make it look clean and organized. For clicking pictures, gather all the components you received while buying the laptop, such as charger, warranty card, etc. 
  3. Create your listing. Many online marketplaces may limit the listing. For example, eBay allows only 12 listings. 
  4. You must create an account on the site you are selling and connect your PayPal account to it. 
  5. Sign in to eBay or any other marketplace. There you will find many premade categories, but it is better to make your own listing. 
  6. Let them know the condition of your device, specifications and descriptions and upload the photos you have taken. 
  7. Make some price comparison and then set the price. If you are still confused about the market value, then set “Action”. 
  8. Make sure to choose the shipping package that is best for you. Free shipping attracts buyer’s attention. 

Trade-In:

 You can also trade your laptop in Mac of all trades, BestBuy, Staples, Mac me an offer, etc. 

Donate Your Old Laptop

We all know that a laptop is a daily essential and there are many people who cannot afford to buy it. So rather than keeping your used laptop unused in the closet, it is better to give it to someone who needs it. 

Where to Donate Old Laptops:

Several organizations take laptops from those who want to donate and give them to needy students or employees of developing countries. Here are the name of such organizations: 

  • Goodwill 
  • Computers with Causes
  • The National Cristina Foundation
  • World Computer Exchange
  • Human-IT
  • TechSoup
  • Your Local Library
  • Your Local School System

Final Words

In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to have a laptop older than four/five years old. It may be still useable with minor problems like distorted screen colors or it may slow down a bit. In these case, they are easily fixable and you can use it. But there are many things you can do with an old laptop even if it is not workable, and it’s worth exploring what kind of use your device may have left in it before deciding how or if to recycle it. Now, you know how many things you can do with an old laptop. Choose the one that you think is best for your laptop.