Got a New Laptop for Christmas? Here’s What to Do With Your Old One – Yahoo Tech

You got a sweet new laptop for the holidays to replace that old clunker you’ve been using for years. So what do you do with that old one? Before you unceremoniously dump it in the trash, consider giving it a second life. Here’s how.

Repurpose it

Just because your old laptop won’t be your primary computer anymore doesn’t mean it can’t be used for something else.

Specifically, consider using it as a network-attached storage (NAS) server for your household.

That might sound pretty techie. But, in truth, NAS is just a place where you can store photos, music, videos, and other shared files, which you can then access from all of your other computers, smartphones, or tablets.

One of the more popular pieces of software you can use for this purpose is called FreeNAS — which, as its name implies, is free to use. You’ll have to follow the instructions closely to install the software. But once you’ve got it up and running, your seemingly worthless laptop will have a new reason to live.

Give it away

Your new laptop might make your old one seem like it moves at a snail’s pace, but chances are it’s still plenty speedy for most people. So instead of junking it, why not pass it off to someone who might get some use out of it?

Your kids: Like your old smartphone, your old laptop can be passed along to your kids, as long as it still works fairly well. 

If it’s really crawling, you might see if upgrading its RAM helps improve its performance. That should make your former travel companion work well enough to at least get your kids online so they can do their homework and stream music and movies.

As always, you’ll want to talk to your kids about how to properly use their new computer and set some ground rules for using the Internet.

Your parents: If you have elderly parents who want to get online but don’t need the latest and greatest laptop, you might want to consider handing your notebook to them.

Many seniors use the Internet to keep in touch with family and friends, not to mention play games and watch movies. If your parents are on a fixed income, a free laptop could be a huge help for them.

Charity: Just because you don’t personally know someone who needs a laptop doesn’t mean you should toss it out. Instead, why not donate it to a charity that can get some good use out of it.

Goodwill, for example, accepts nearly all electronics for donation whether they’re in working condition or not. Laptops that are in good condition can be sold by Goodwill to raise money for its job-training programs, while older, broken-down computers can be sold off and recycled.

Then there’s the Students Recycling Used Technology (StRUT) program, which accepts donations of lightly used laptops that students can then refurbish and place in their school systems. In addition to adding much-needed computers to their schools, students participating in StRUT get hands-on experience in rebuilding computer systems.

StRUT has various regional programs in places like Silicon Valley, Arizona, and Oregon.

Recycle it

If your computer is too old to be of use to most people, you can always put it to rest by recycling it.

Recycling laptops (and other electronics, for that matter) is important, because there are chemicals in them that, when left in landfills, can cause significant damage to the environment. Recycling old laptops also means that companies can remove and reuse materials, which they then don’t have to mine.

Best Buy will let you drop off your old laptop; they’ll then recycle it without any trouble to you. Chances are, your local municipality has a program for recycling old electronics, as well.

Sell it

OK, so you need some extra walking-around cash. In that case, selling your old laptop could be your best bet. EBay is always a great standby for selling off your unwanted notebook, as there are plenty of folks out there who will pay top dollar for your laptop.

You can also turn to Gazelle to sell off your old laptop. A 13-inch MacBook Air from 2013 in perfect condition can currently fetch you $153 there. That might not seem like a whole heck of a lot, but it’s still better than the $0 you’d get from leaving it in your closet for the next 10 years.

Email Daniel at; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+.


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