Just wondering how I can put my idle computer time to some real use what services like seti@home are out there and worth supporting ?

  • 7
    Remember: using your CPU and/or GPU when it would otherwise be idle is not a free operation, especially not with modern processors. For quite some time CPUs have supported dropping into various low power states when there is nothing to do if the OS supports this (and all modern OSs do). So running one of the suggested programs will cost you in fuel bills so the processor keeps going at full tilt and the relevant cooling fans may need to speed up too. Sep 6, 2009 at 23:10
  • And the home cooling costs to go along with it. Putting your computer to sleep when you're not using it is probably a better use of the idle CPU. Sep 6, 2009 at 23:58
  • Check this link: pcworld.com/article/171126/…
    – alex
    Sep 7, 2009 at 5:18
  • 3
    @Barry: Some of us spend money heating houses, not cooling them. Sep 7, 2009 at 6:35

7 Answers 7


A few of the more popular ones:

  • SETI@Home - searching for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Folding@Home - simulating protein folding, with potential applications to a lot of problems in biology.
  • GIMPS - searching for very large primes.
  • BOINC - a framework for many different distributed computing projects, including SETI@Home.

Wikipedia has an extensive list of distributed computing projects.

  • on the BOINC website they have an interesting list of projects too
    – user8228
    Sep 6, 2009 at 22:40
  • I've been folding for Folding@Home for few months now
    – Sathyajith Bhat
    Sep 7, 2009 at 2:57

Install the BOINC platform. It's used to do data crunching for a wider variety of projects -- biology, physics, math, earth sciences.


I'd recommend using BOINC (as stated in other posts). Once installed, it sits in the background, waiting until the computer is idle.

But I would not recommend leaving your PC on just for the sake of running BOINC -- just let it fill out the natural gaps in your normal work routine, and when you're done for the day, put your PC to sleep or turn it off.

This way BOINC works during your small breaks, and that can add up too. And at the same time you're not spending energy to run your PC just for the sake of BOINC -- best of both sides, eh?

  • This is good advice..I should take it. BOINC also lets you set a schedule if you don't want it generating heat for you in the middle of the afternoon, etc. Sep 7, 2009 at 6:29

Putting it to sleep will assist with preventing global warming, which I consider something useful.


Another good host of grid projects is World Community Grid.


and more projects at the GridCafé


I'm using my idle computer for GIGRIB.

It is distributed website monitoring service. If you participate your bandwidth will be used to detect if websites are down and in turn you can have your own websites monitored.

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