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8 Practical Uses for Your Old Laptop

Dec 26, 2009, 20:02 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Brandon)

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"This holiday, you pull the wraps off a brand new laptop and open the lid to your shiny new mobile companion. The first thought you might have is to consider which apps you should install first and what's the fastest way to load the up the hard disk with music and movies. Of course, you inevitably have to think about your old laptop, and what price you can sell it for on Craigslist. But before you dump an old laptop or retire it to the den of forgotten gadgets, here are eight practical ideas on how you can extend its life.

"This holiday, you pull the wraps off a brand new laptop and open the lid to your shiny new mobile companion. The first thought you might have is to consider which apps you should install first and what's the fastest way to load the up the hard disk with music and movies. Of course, you inevitably have to think about your old laptop, and what price you can sell it for on Craigslist. But before you dump an old laptop or retire it to the den of forgotten gadgets, here are eight practical ideas on how you can extend its life.

"1. Run a Home Server for File-Sharing

"One sensible use for a last year's netbook is to turn it into a network-attached storage server. This allows you to store files on the hard drive, assign user groups, and access the drive over your home network. Most of the popular NAS applications -- such as Openfiler and Nexenta -- provide a few options for how you install the NAS software. You can load it up as a distro that actually takes over the laptop or as a client that runs in Linux or Windows. These open-source tools are similar to Microsoft Home Server and many offer a Web-based console to control the NAS from a remote computer, so once you set up the NAS on your netbook, you can leave it to sit idly next to your router and never have to even open the lid."

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