There are even a number of lightweight, kid-friendly operating systems you can swap out for Windows to give your old PC new life.
An old PC is also a great opportunity to learn more about how websites work by running your own web server. If you're currently running a WordPress blog with a custom URL that only you and your mom read, why not try managing the whole enchilada yourself? You'll save that $100 you spend every year on hosting, and you'll soon be acquainted with the ins and outs of the LAMP stack.
If WordPress isn't your bag, you could also try running a simplified site written in HTML running on an nginx-powered server.
Just don't try to run a high traffic website out of your home. A few hits a day is no big deal, but websites running on a home Internet connection tend to be slow. Plus, if for some reason you become an Internet star you may run afoul of your ISP's terms and conditions due to all the increased web traffic.
Home file server
If web administration isn't for you, how about improving your home network with a shared file server for all the devices at home? Think of it as a central repository for all the photos, music, and movies that are spread across various devices right now.
With some free software, creating a file server is pretty straightforward and you'll have the peace of mind knowing that all your files are finally in one place and accessible by every device in your home.
Intrigued? PCWorld's tutorial on how to turn an old PC into a home server with FreeNAS can help get you up and running in no time.
What do you do with your old PCs? Share your secrets in the comments!
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