How to Repurpose an Old Laptop

Our laptops have been busier than ever this past year. If you decided to upgrade to a new device in the past few months, you probably have an older model lying around. At CPR, we’re all about finding innovative ways to give new life to our old technology, and since Earth Day is right around the corner, what better time to start thinking about how to reduce our carbon footprint? Stop letting your device collect dust. Read on to learn how to repurpose an old laptop!

4 Ways to Repurpose an Old Computer

From fun to functional, there are plenty of purposes an old laptop can provide when it’s not sitting at the back of your junk drawer, or worse yet, discarded at a landfill. In 2019, nearly 29,000 pounds of e-waste was generated in North America alone, with a mere 9.4% being recycled. E-waste is not only harmful to the environment around us, but it also causes adverse health effects to humans directly.

Below, we’ll show you a few easy and cost-free ways you can make a difference and reuse devices in your own homes.

  1. Create a Digital Photo Frame

    COVID-19 has made a serious DIY-er out of some of us, so if you need another home project to keep you busy, try this. Essentially, you’ll want to strip down your gadget to separate the screen from the “garbage” of the device, as this Instructables tutorial puts it. You’ll need to create a frame showing the laptop’s LCD in front, with hard drive parts mounted to the back.

  2. Turn Old PC into Mobile Hotspot woman connecting old laptop to phone

    Do you always seem to have trouble connecting to Wi-Fi in one room of your home? Turn your old computer into a wireless hotspot to share your Internet connection from spaces that are better connected. If you’re working or schooling from home, this will give you better mobility, so you don’t feel as stuck in place. Go into your device settings, access Network and Internet, and click into Mobile Hotspot. From there, you will be prompted to “Share your Internet connection.”

  3. Retrofit to a Chromebook

    Many of our day-to-day tasks require a fully-functional laptop, but what if someone in your house needs only a lightweight computing system? Say, a child who needs a device for productivity tasks, streaming videos, or playing games? Chromebooks are a great alternative to laptops but are still out-of-budget for many families. Instead of buying a new computer, you can quickly turn an old PC into a makeshift “Chromebook” with all the same core functionality of the real device. Follow this tutorial to install a Linux-Chromium hybrid, the latter being the operating system of Chromebook.

  4. Set Up a Home Media Center

    This option helps you put two devices to work! If you have a TV that’s not in use, consider hooking it up to your computer with an HDMI cord to stream Netflix, Hulu, and all your other paid subscription services. If you’re an Apple person, you may need an adapter to connect to an HDMI port, depending on how old your device is. Speaking of device age, it’s worth noting that older devices could run slower. We recommend uninstalling unused software and startup programs or upgrading from a hard drive to an SSD to speed up your streaming.

Do you have any old or unused Mac or Windows PCs lying around? You can also turn your computer into a webcam, remote control, or wireless network. If you don’t have a use for your old laptop, donate it to your local CPR store, and we will recycle it! We may even be able to resurrect your old laptop to sell it! Get started by contacting your local repair techs today.

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