3 Common Ways to Repurpose an Old Laptop

You just ran an anti-virus program for several hours and the scan came up with one or two trojans. You opt to quarantine the affected files and cross your fingers as you reboot your system hoping that it would run smoothly again. But, as that log-in page comes up, you notice right away that the cursor has a bit of an input lag when you move your mouse. It begins to sink into your mind that your laptop is just outdated which is why it’s slow. It was never the virus’ fault that it was lagging.
But, you fight that logic and run the disk defragmenter tool for several more hours. Denial, after all, is the first in the five stages of grief. When that doesn’t work, you wipe the hard drive clean and reformat. When that also fails, there’s nothing left to do but cry.
It’s never easy to admit when we finally need to discard our old laptop and pony up to buy a new one. Aside from the obvious financial damage that modern laptops would make on our budget, some of us may have attachment issues with our old one. It’s especially difficult to get rid of a notebook that has gotten us through tough times. Aside from these, there are also environmental considerations. Some of the components in your laptop may become poisonous when mixed with other substances in the trash.
We don’t really need to completely rid ourselves of our old laptop just because we’re getting a new one. If you love your laptop enough to keep it for more than a few years, it wouldn’t have much resale value anyway. Here are some ways that we can give breathe new life into our outdated laptops:

Upgrade and turn it into a desktop

Some laptops, especially, high-end ones wouldn’t get too slow that to the point that it’s unusable by modern standards. Most of the time, it’s the battery that’s going to give up first. From the excellent 8 hours of battery power per charge cycle of a when it’s new, it can easily come down to a measly 30 mins after a few years of heavy use. At that point, what’s the point of having a laptop that you can’t use away from a socket?
Batteries can cost a lot and buying one to put into an old machine might be impractical. At this point, turning your laptop into a desktop might be a good idea. It allows you utilize the computing power that it’s still got left.
To do this, you need an external monitor and new external input devices such as a mouse and keyboard. Sure, you can just keep the unit plugged in and use it as it is at home but since you’re not going to move it around much it’s best that you just turn use an external monitor anyway. The ergonomics of a desktop set up can literally save your neck and back. Some people even go through great lengths disassembling and transferring their laptop’s components into a makeshift desktop enclosure just so it would look like a true desktop.
If the CPU still functions properly, you can even pair it with a desktop-grade graphics card. This is where an eGPU comes into the picture. With a nice monitor, spacious desk, and enhanced graphics capacity, your laptop can become a beast of a gaming or productivity rig at home.

Turn it into a home theatre system

Old laptops could make for an extremely powerful home theatre system that can play more video formats than regular home theatre systems. Attaching it to a decently sized television through either a VGA or HDMI cable is easy and cheap enough to do. Just set up some speakers and some wireless input devices such as a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you’re good to go.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can also detach your old laptop’s monitor so you can have just the basics on board. Without the monitor, your laptop becomes slim and light enough to mount it behind your flatscreen television for a seamless home theatre experience.
Or if that’s not your cup of tea, you can always just use it as a small entertainment system in your bedroom. Others even glue their old laptops to the ceiling making their old laptops their default media consumption device before going to sleep.

Gut it for parts

Sometimes we’re just left with no choice but to give up trying to repurpose our laptop because it’s just too slow to do anything. It can be so underpowered by modern standards that it wouldn’t even support some newer video formats. In this case, there’s almost nothing else left to do but to accept the fact that it no longer serves a purpose in our lives.
This is in no way ideal but gutting it for parts may be the only way we can take the cherished memories of our old laptops with us to the next stage of our lives. The RAM stick and hard drives are the most commonly salvaged parts. You can easily purchase an external hard drive enclosure for the hard drive to turn it into an external HDD for your new notebook. The RAM, on the other hand, can still be used in new laptops provided that it’s compatible. This way, it’s still with us in some way in either powering your multitasking or storage needs.

Key Takeaway

Laptops are excellent mobile productivity tools that can help us a lot in everyday tasks. When they fail to be mobile and productive, however, it may be time to move on from them and buy a new modern notebook.
But, if you’re willing to apply some elbow grease and get to work, there are still ways that you can incorporate them into our lives moving forward. These three steps show that we don’t need to completely part ways with our beloved machines just because they’re old.