Do you have an old PC or laptop in your home that's no one wants to use? It's so slow. OK. So what are you planning to do with it? Dump it in the garbage? Why not make some good use of it and save out planet from the increasing burden of toxic ewastes.
Overhaul and rejuvenate your computer
Dusting the box: If your laptop or PC has become very old and shabby, give it a scrub. Dust and dirt affect the performance of the system adversely. Open the box and use a vaccum cleaner to remove all the dirt and dust. Also, clean the disc drive using any good CD lens cleaner available in shops.
Refreshing the operating system: Now that all the cobwebs in the box have been cleaned, it's time to reinstall the operating system. Before installing an operating system on the computer remember to backup all the data that you have saved on the system. I would suggest you go for some light-weight Linux operating system such as Slax, Damn Small Linux, SliTaz or even Ubuntu for optimal performance. You can install Windows XP, if you must.
Installing Windows: If you are a real Windows fan, install Windows XP on to the machine if it has at least 512MB RAM. After you are done installing the operating system, use light-weight applications on the system. Instead of heavy Adobe Reader, install Foxit Reader. Avoid Apple iTunes. Use VLC Media Player. Do not install any unnecessary application on the system. Remember to uninstall any application that is no longer required. Do not clutter your desktop with loads of files and folders. Remember to dhttp://www.slitaz.org/en/doc/handbook/install.htmlefragment your system at regular intervals. Also, install CCleaner and use it to clean the system. Use the new Windows system for all the job that are frugal on memory. Browse the Web, listen to music or type a novel.
Installing Ubuntu: If you are a Linux fan or just want to give it a try, there's one of the most popular distribution--Ubuntu. You can download the iso file and burn it un a CD or request a free CD from Canonical ShipIt website. Once you have installed Ubuntu, you will need to install the applications and other necessary media support, etc. Once done, enjoy the system for your day to day computing.
Here're basic tutorials for getting started wit Ubuntu:
Easy guide to getting started with Ubuntu
Make Ubuntu mount partitions and drives automatically at start up
Activating restricted music formats, Java and Flash on Ubuntu
Installing some basic applications on your Ubuntu system
Easily tweak Ubuntu with Ubuntu Tweak
Now that you have given a fresh life to your ageing box, you put it to several good use:
1. Use it as a personal server: If you have a home network, install Apache Web server on it and use it as your home server that store and serves various common stuff such as music.
2. Convert it as Cloud operating system: If you want to have an operating system that's always connected with you over the net, use the box for installing eyeOS, an open source cloud operating system.
For setting up eyeOS, you will have to install a Web server, say Apache, first. You can choose between XAMPP and AppServ for installing web server packages on Windows. For Linux or other operating systems, depend on XAMPP. Linux users can also install it manually by downloading appropriate packages. (Easy guide to installing a Web server on Ubuntu)
Start your web server.
Now, download the latest eyeOS version in it's .zip format and exract the content to get an eyeOS folder. Move this folder to the home directory or www directory of your server. If you have installed XAMPP server, it should be in the Apache folder (Apache/www/). In case of AppServ, it will be present in AppServe folder in the drive where the serve has been installed.
After moving eyeOS folder in the www directory of your server, open your Web browser and go to http://localhost/eyeos. Fill the required information to set up your cloud operating system. Now, eyeOS can be accessed from your local network by visiting http://localhost/eyeos. In case you have configured your router to allow access to your home server from the Internet, type http://your-ip-adress/eyeos and use the cloud operating system from anywhere, any time. Enjoy true cloud computing.
3. Donate it to some school or needy student: This idea might work best for those who do not need the old computer at all. if you are living in a developing country, it won't be hard to find some school or student too eager to lap your old computer. Even if you are in some developed country, you can still give it in charity.