Looking for any creative thoughts anyone has on what I might be able to do with several large Hard Drives and a 5 year old PC or two. Other than the garbage can.

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Doing some cleanup around the house. Realized I have 3-4 PC's sitting around only used for clients who refuse to update older machines. I keep the older software on them for those special situations. I also have large hard drives on them. I thought it might be a good idea to do one of a few things. Your wisdom appreciated other than the obvious throw them away!
  • Salvage any and all components HD's Wireless Adapters Graphics Cards USB etc.  I am guessing that some of the HD should work universally right?
  • Move some of them over to a new modern Motherboard 64 bit with more horsepower RAM performance. ( I realize that the problems I may run into are compatibility, non-supported drivers OS issues and probably BIOS stuff. )
  • I was thinking by consolidating some of the data I might be able to get some more use like backup space etc.
  • Take the hard drives and create some kind of file server and or printer server with a machine or two.

Out of Curiosity, I was wondering since several of these have older OS's on them would it be of any value to keep a few older OS with software that works with it Crystal Reports Business Object Enterprise. Tableau Desktop on some of them. Is it possible to put them on a box that at StartUp allows me to pick and choose what OS I startup with?
  • One - XP, 2 HD
  • Two - Vista for Business, One - Win 7 Pro
  • One - 2012 Win Server Dell PowerEdge 830. Can Windows 2016 Server be obtained for low cost in developmental purposes? Used to have Biz Spark.
I have worked with some larger databases in the past hence all the HD space. Now working with Tableau & Power BI Dashboards. New data sources best suited locally and offline is coming in. So any thoughts on what I might be able to do to get any usage is much appreciated. Thank you.
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I frequently end up with such "orphaned" computers.  I quit pulling boards from them when I found myself spending too much time trying to get an old board to function in a new computer when new boards are very inexpensive.  Of course, if there's something valuable (larger RAM, RAID controller, etc.) inside, I'll save that.

The XP and Vista computers are likely not worth the effort.  I'd wipe the hard drives and save them if they're worth it (500G or more) and recycle the rest.  We have a number of places here that will take old systems and salvage what they can, make Linux computers, and recycle what they can't.  They're typically non-profits.

The PowerEdge 830 may be worth keeping.  You can get Server 2016 on a 180-day trial.  You can join MS's program and get nearly all of their software for $600 (?)/year.

If you know a non-profit that can get set up with TechSoup.org, they can buy Server fairly inexpensively (under $200 with licenses).  The PE 830 may be a good server for them.
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
You could use Drive Bender or Unraid and use these drives as a NAS
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
I was thinking the same as David Johnson.

1) Deinstall Windows.

2) Install https://freenas.org/.

3) Jam your biggest drives into a machine.

Tip: Once you get your FreeNAS systems running, you can always sell them too.
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Commented:
This Linux thing has me intrigued for a second machine. Definitely going to do the NAS thing. NO clue what it is yet. Will investigate. I have a Joomla website and wondered if I can transfer the website locally and make it accessible to the Internet from this spare unused PC I have. Intel Processor on one ASUS on another. If I install Linux on a box can I install Joomla on it and use it like a hosted solution? I can post another question for that if need be. It sound like I may be able to save 600.00 a year if it can be? I know how to manually install it on my hosting providers site.

Mr Favor, Johnson & CompProbSolv. Thank you.
Love the idea to recycle. Will Install Drive Bender, and or freenas.org
If I can turn one PC into a Linux box for stuff that might be cool especially for my website!

Last thing and I may have missed it but can you set up multiple drives that already have an OS on it like XP Vista Biz& Win7Pro and upon startup select the drive to start and be able to go into that OS and drive and work from it. (Maybe through the BIOS?)Then log off restart to a different OS...? Or is that what the NAS does?
As you can see from image. The hard drives just on one of the old Vista Biz machines has tons of space. 5-6 Teraytes each machine at least. Used to have Oracle, SQL, BAAN, etc on them. Now they are just a wastin'.
3 wasting hard drives on box
RUA Volunteer2?Tableau Trainer & Consultant Sales Exec.

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Commented:
Hopefully you can check my last post and see if I am on the right track or not. Thank you gentlemen.
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
doing a multiboot to the various older operating systems just adds a level of complexity and yet more items that you have to manage/update/provide backward compatibility.. convert them to vm's if needed. .

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