So you’ve been putting off upgrading your beloved Windows XP computer for a long time now. But with support ending for Windows XP, it’s time to upgrade. But…your old machine still runs fine, so it’s a shame to just toss it away. Here are a couple ideas for what you can do with that old machine to keep it alive and useful:
Give it a Linux makeover
For a long time, I have made the suggestion that you could, and maybe should, have a separate ‘secure’ machine for sensitive transacting on the web. Why not use your old machine for this useful purpose? After you’ve transferred all of your data off of the old machine, you can download one of the free versions of the Linux operating system. Ubuntu (www.Ubuntu.com) and Linux Mint (www.linuxmint.com) are my two favorites. They are relatively VERY secure and don’t be afraid – they are not difficult to use. I hate to say you don’t have to worry about viruses (there is malicious software for basically all operating systems), but you basically don’t have to worry much about getting a virus infection when running Linux – especially when using it for limited purposes (banking, etc). You can even download a “Live CD” and run the operating system from a CD and not even have to install it on your hard drive.
If you have multiple users and storage needs in your household/network, FreeNAS (www.freenas.org) will turn your old PC into a “Network Attached Storage” device. It will allow you to use your old PC as a file sharing device or even as a central location to store backups of all of your computers. It’s powerful, free and you can access your files from multiple operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux with little or no configuration.