The Lite Side

101 Uses for an Unwanted Dell Computer

- 2001.10.22

If you should find yourself with an unwanted Dell computer for some reason, what would you do with it? Here are some things to think about. Not that I'd really do any of them; I'm really kind of a mellow guy. I just think about it. A lot. While standing in the windows of old warehouses smoking old cigarettes in the dark. Minding my own business.

  1. Take out motherboard and use the case as a planter.
  2. Leave in motherboard and use as a planter.
  3. Drop off of a guardrail and videotape the fall for a physics demonstration.
  4. Doorstop.
  5. Fills in the hole in the wall you've not gotten around to patching.
  6. Run a QuickBasic program from in DOS.
  7. Use it to mark your bench.
  8. Nightlight.
  9. Covers Dell-sized hole in landfill.
  10. Manhole cover replacement.
  11. Ripley's Museum display for Innovative Technology. Believe it or don't.
  12. Pour concrete in it and leave on porch as a social experiment. (Suggested by a reader)
  13. Pour concrete in it and see how long it will run.
  14. Use to illustrate the dangers of exposure to static discharge on electronics.
  15. Plug into Watt-hour meter to show energy drain of Pentium chips.
  16. Launch into orbit and create a new shooting star.
  17. Let guy on Ripley's chop it up and eat it.
  18. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until well done.
  19. Hide a very small, very powerful neodymium magnet under the motherboard and ship it off to Dell tech support. With any luck, you'll take out two or three other machines in the near vicinity.
  20. Scratch off "Dell" logo and do a survey to see how many people notice.
  21. Give it to a farmer. In the dell.
  22. Give it to needy schoolchildren in a former Soviet republic.
  23. Give it to the Salvation Army.
  24. Extra large powered cup-holder for your RV.
  25. Use it as a Linux box, as a server or some other useful but non-Windows function. Oh wait, I'm being redundant.
  26. Have students see how many times Windows can be reinstalled before hardware fails.
  27. Use as parts machine for anything your Mac can use.
  28. Open a Dell store, sell it, then go bankrupt.
  29. Marker piece for Microsoftopoly game.
  30. See if it floats. If so, use for floatation device on cruise ship. If it doesn't float, well, then you're okay there too.
  31. Replace the internal components with a very powerful electromagnetic pulse generator and drop off at a PC-only college campus. When they plug it in, it'll be just like an episode of Star Trek.
  32. Hang it from porch to block the sun that comes in during the afternoon.
  33. Loosen all PCI cards and internal cables, then give it to your worst enemy.
  34. Tighten all PCI cards and internal cables, then give it to your worst enemy.
  35. Donate to a computer repair class. Give them something to do before handing it over.
  36. Force fit all cables into the wrong ports. See what happens.
  37. Put the interior parts into an old Beige Mac and claim that Apple now makes PCs; ship to MOSR.
  38. Sell it on eBay and buy yourself a Mac.
  39. Wait six weeks, sell it on eBay and buy yourself a nice milkshake.
  40. Prove that objects dropped from the mast of moving ships fall downward even as they continue to move forward.
  41. See at what RPM you can spin the computer before it begins to smoke.
  42. Put a Strawberry Poptart™ on the Pentium™ chip and watch the fun begin.
  43. Use extra bays as hardware storage lockers.
  44. Walk into a bank, set up the computer on the checkwriting counter, plug it in, boot it up, and leave.
  45. Use the monitor on an old Quadra you have in the closet.
  46. See if the RAM still works when it is wet.
  47. Teach yourself how to defragment a drive. Use lots of glue.
  48. Super glue lots of little computer-related trinkets on the monitor and CPU before returning it for a refund.
  49. Super glue the monitor to the CPU and mount the top of the monitor on the ceiling as an artistic conversation piece.
  50. Mount the computer upside down in your Mac workstation.
  51. Remove the motherboard and put in a G3 or G4 motherboard; then take the computer to work and use it with Virtual PC installed. Get IT staff to help you get it hooked up without telling them it is a Mac.
  52. See what that guy who runs can do with it.
  53. Use as a virus collector.
  54. Use as a Trojan horse; remove the internal components and put trained squirrels inside, then deliver to the Nuts R' Us store just before closing.
  55. Attack Captain Planet by plugging in the Dell with His Environmentalist Self nearby.
  56. Open up the hard drive to see what 7200 RPM looks like.
  57. See how long it runs without the fan, heat sink and cryogenic thermistor cooling system.
  58. Offer to students for use as a science experiment as long as it involves growing tomatoes in the case.
  59. Use as the base of any device invented by Nicolas Tesla.
  60. Write a Windows program that simulates a boot sequence and crash. Put this in the Windows equivalent of the Startup Items folder. Invite Windows-using friends to try to diagnose it.
  61. See if it operates within a nuclear reactor.
  62. Give it to a 3 year old, unsupervised, for an hour.
  63. Then give it to his twin brother.
  64. Exactly how big a shock does it take to make a hard drive stop working?
  65. Take to the interior of one of those fast food jungle gyms. Leave it with a "Do not touch" sign on it.
  66. Put food inside the case and leave it near a teenage boy.
  67. See if it will balance on one corner during the spring equinox.
  68. Put a cheesy green cover on it and tell everyone it's a Compaq.
  69. Mount on the front bumper of a known tailgater.
  70. Paint it white and leave it in Staples on a desk display.
  71. Put it on a cart with a sign saying "Free computer printed mugs" in a mall, then watch how many people stand around waiting for service.
  72. Remove all the keys from the keyboard and rearrange in Dvorak style, then give to the typing teacher.
  73. Put your return address as and subscribe to every mailing list in the known universe.
  74. Ship it via FedEx but fill out the form as illegibly as possible. Include a free 20 minute calling card in the box and ask the recipient to call you.
  75. Call Dell and ask for a return authorization number, then ship them the computer with the motherboard removed.
  76. When it comes back to you, put the motherboard in but remove the power supply and ship it again.
  77. Learn how to overclock it just so you can melt it.
  78. Ship the melted version back to Dell for service so they can tell you you voided the warranty.
  79. Spend a few minutes learning how to apply spacecraft model battle damage with a blowtorch. Use the Dell to practice.
  80. Take the interior parts out and replace them with generic parts from some special you saw at Fry's and see if anyone notices the difference in actual use.
  81. Encase the entire machine in clear plastic and attach a giant key fob.
  82. Return the machine to Mike Dell's house because obviously he treasures it enough to stamp his name on it.
  83. Find out how many times you can trigger Windows XP to ask for a reinstallation code.
  84. Put it on a boat in San Francisco Bay near the baseball stadium in San Francisco and trade it for a Lou Webster home run baseball. Have some cash on hand to sweeten the deal. Don't tell anyone Lou Webster is one of the stadium custodians.
  85. Install a video card on it and use it exclusively as an extra television.
  86. Sell it and give the money to the families of the heroes on board the hijacked jet that crashed in Pennsylvania. They're being neglected in favor of the New York folks, it seems to me.
  87. Hook up a Mac to the monitor and use it in Dell advertising.
  88. Give it to Dan Knight as a test machine for CPU comparisons.
  89. Give it to George Castanza.
  90. Use it as a boat anchor.
  91. Hollow it out and use it as a model of a moon base for a 5th grade science fair project. Hint: use the back side as the front. Label the ports as "airlocks" and the drives as "Landing Bays." Label the power supply "Nuclear Generator." Glue the mouse on top and call it "Lunar Rover." Let me know if you win.
  92. Install OS/2 Warp on it, if you can.
  93. Install Windows version 3.11 on it, if you can.
  94. Deliver it to CompUSA and ask them to set it up in the Mac section. Add an extra internal hard drive and set the BIOS to boot off drive D: Delete a couple of .dll files so it'll be on Permanent Blue Screen of Death. Watch the fun as they reinstall Windows on Drive C: over, and over, and over....
  95. Deliver it functional to CompUSA as a demo machine, with the screen saver set to "I wish I were a Macintosh Computer...that is what I'd truly like to be...for if I were a Macintosh Computer...someone could truly innovate with me!" and have a really hard to guess password on the screen saver.
  96. Use it as a heat source for you home heating system. One of those big black ones works best.
  97. Make nested folders requiring more than 255 characters and put the system files in the last folder. Call tech support.
  98. Change the name of several files to "/?><;!&$*" and see what happens.
  99. Use it as a print spooler for an Apple LaserWriter.
  100. Give it to a PC-using administrator, but not until you've replied to a few hundred email spam messages.
  101. Use it as the 101st item in a list of 101 things you can do with an unwanted Dell.

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