The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
If you upgraded your home computer to a more modern system, you may still have the old system lying unused in a closet or some other place. There are many uses for old computers, such as giving it to a family member, installing Linux on it to experiment with a new and more secure operating system, or any other number of worthwhile projects. I would suggest you consider converting the old computer into an a server.
There are several good reasons for having a server in your home:
1. A server is a good place to store backup copies of your important files. In case of a hard drive crash or an accidental erasure in your primary computer, you can quickly and easily restore the needed file(s) from your file server.
2. Placing your data in one place makes it easy to share files amongst your own desktop, laptop, and tablet computers, as well as with your cell phone and even with the devices of other family members. You can use the server as a “media server” to let all computer devices within the home access the music, videos, and other files that you have stored on the server and make them available to all computer devices within the home.
3. Making backup copies of files stored on a server is generally much easier than making backup copies of files stored on multiple individual computers, such as your desktop and laptop computers and the computers of other family members. For example, if you use a backup service such as Backblaze, you can first copy all your important files to the in-home server, then use Backblaze to copy all those files from the server to off-site storage space in the cloud. This makes it easy to ensure that all devices in the home get backed up while no device runs slower while the backup is in progress.
4. A server can easily also share printers, CD-ROM drives, and other computer devices amongst family members’ computers. If your new laptop does not include a CD-ROM drive, you can use the one installed in the server in the same manner as if it was installed within the laptop. The same is true with a printer: connect a printer to the server computer, and then make it accessible to all family members.