You’ve probably replaced a lot of laptops over your lifetime, but what have you done with the old ones? Many people aren’t sure what to do with their used laptop, so they leave them in their closet, collecting dust.

Moore’s law states that technology tends to improve drastically about every two years. This makes frequent laptop upgrades an attractive proposition for those who can afford it. However, it’s likely that your used laptop is not completely obsolete by the time you buy a new one.

It’s a shame to waste perfectly good technology when you can use it to improve your life or the lives of others. Here are five awesome ways to repurpose your old laptop.

1. Sell Your Used Laptop – Even If It’s Broken

Online marketplaces like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace are excellent places to sell your used laptop. If you’re not comfortable selling online, you may be able to find a local dealer who is willing to purchase it from you.

You’ll get more money for the laptop if it’s functioning, but there’s also an opportunity to sell broken laptops and tablets for parts. To get an idea of how much your computer parts may be worth, check out online resources like the Cisco part number lookup tool.

2. Donate Your Laptop to a Charitable Cause

There are many charitable organizations that would be thrilled to receive a functionating laptop, even if it’s not the latest and greatest. If you have a favorite local charity, reach out to them directly to see if they have a need.

Otherwise, check out the National Christina Foundation website, where you can search for local non-profit organizations, schools, and agencies in need of laptops and other electronics.

3. Upgrade Your Laptop and Give It Away

Do you have a child, a friend, or another family member who could use the laptop you’ve outgrown? Replacing the hard drive or upgrading the memory are easy and inexpensive ways to get a few more years use out of your used laptop.

In most cases, a new solid-state drive (SSD) or hybrid drive can significantly improve your laptop speed. If the new user isn’t planning to do a lot of graphic-heavy work on the laptop, four to eight GB of RAM should be enough to improve multitasking ability. Check the manufacturer’s website or visit your local IT provider for more information about the best ways to complete your upgrade.

4. Find a Reputable Recycling Program

Many cities provide collections for old electronics on specified days. If you’re not lucky enough to have this option, you can check out E-Cycling Central to find an electronics recycling program near you. Best Buy and Staples both offer electronics recycling, and may even offer you a gift card in exchange for your used laptop.

5. Repurpose with These Cool DIY Tricks

If your laptop is still (mostly) functioning and you have the time and patience for DIY projects, there are tons of cool things you can do with a used laptop. Here are just a few ideas.

Wall Mounting

Laptops that have broken parts like the keyboard, CD drive, or touchpad, can be mounted on the wall for single-purpose use. Hang one in the kitchen to use for recipes or as a calendar. You can also use a mounted laptop as a digital photo frame or for entertainment purposes.

Not exactly a pro with a hammer and nails? Consider hiring a qualified home repair service to help with the installation.

WiFi Hotspot

While a traditional router or extender is best for long-term use, your old laptop can be an excellent WiFi hotspot in a pinch. For those rare occasions when you need to get online in the basement or some remote corner of your house, using your old laptop is a far easier and cheaper solution.

Detached Monitor

If the laptop itself has seen better days but the monitor still works, you may be able to detach it and use it as a second monitor. If you’ve never worked on a dual-monitor system before, you’ll be hooked once you do.

Network Attached Storage (NAS)

If your laptop has a decent amount of space on the hard drive, creating a NAS system may be the way to go. This is basically a centralized storage system for access by all of your connected electronics. It’s a great way to store information that can be used by the family’s computers, tablets, and phones.

Media Center

Hide your laptop behind your TV screen and create a media center by connecting it to your TV. You can now use it to stream Netflix, YouTube, and other online entertainment resources.

Some laptops may also have enough power to allow you to play video games on your TV. Some can also record video from network channels, essentially acting as a DVR.

A Word of Warning

Your laptop hard drive contains a wealth of information that can be a gold mine for thieves. Before handing it over to anybody, make sure to follow security precautions to protect your data.

Back up anything you might need and deauthorize the device from services like Adobe, Microsoft, and iTunes. Then wipe your hard drive clean and restore it to factory settings. Do not skip these critical steps.

Ready to Start Being Productive with Your New Laptop?

Now that you’re enjoying the increased speed and efficiency of a new laptop, why not use it to improve your life? Check out our classified ads for online training courses and job postings.

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