Category Archives: NAS

What can you do with an old PC?

If you have used your holiday-that-didn’t-happen money on upgrading your PC, what about the old one (assuming that it is working)?

Should you be running a business, I always suggest putting it in a cupboard in case the new one stops so you have a backup.

But there are other options and they are free. We can put some speed back into the computer by changing it’s operating system from Windows to Linux or Chrome. Both of these place lower demands on the computer so it will respond faster. Linux lets you use many of the programs that you are used to or similar ones, while Chrome connects your computer to the Google ecosystem and apps with cloud storage. Linux and Chrome have a different look to Windows but they are close enough for you to be able to sort it out (like last time you changed your model of car).

Alternatively if you have a desktop computer you can create a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that you connect to your network to act as storage for all users and devices, maybe as a backup location as well. These NAS units don’t demand much from the CPU, so you might find it a good unit to have. You might put some larger drives into the NAS, but these are only £30-40 each.

If you don’t mind leaving your old computer running, consider using its power to help research projects. The most famous is SETI@home which is looking for extraterrestrial life but there are others for Covid-19 (folding@home), etc. These ‘distributed computing projects’ download a small chunk of data to be processed and sent back to the research effort. If you want to get involved, here is a list of projects.

Finally, consider donating it after you have removed all your data. This is one metasite listing UK organisations or just search the internet for ‘donate my computer’.

Unlimited iPhone and iPad storage

A lot of people ask me how to get more storage space on their iOS device. You can’t expand storage on the device itself, but you can link to external storage with iOS13.

If you have an NAS drive connected to your router, then the Files app can link to it just as simply as you can link to Dropbox or iCloud without the bottleneck of the internet.

In the Files app, click browse and then tap the three dots at the top. Now ‘connect to server’ and enter the IP address or name of the NAS unit (e.g. ‘mycloud’). Once it has found the NAS, enter your user name and password if required.

Now you can move items from the iPhone/iPad to the NAS and have them at your fingertips whenever you are on your home network.