If you’ve been holding onto your old computer for a while, it might be time to let go. But before you throw it out, here are some tips for properly disposing your old computer.


Picture showing 4 computers with out of date designs.
Example of what are now classified as old computers.

Say you have an old computer laying around, but it is no longer of any use to you.

Why not use its storage, sell it on for someone else or give it to charity to give someone else a computer?
There are many things to help you ‘dispose’ your old systems, here are 5 points to help you along.

The Tips:

1. Make a backup:

Before you sell or give the system away, it is always a good idea to make sure you have everything you had on it.
Buy a cheap external hard drive or similar and copy things like My Documents to it, you might ever need a document back and the system is long gone. What now? Make a backup just to be sure beforehand! And when you have all the documents and files that are dear to you;

2. Wipe the storage:

When you sell the computer as is with the data still on it, you never know if anyone is going to look at your personal data! Simply deleting and emptying the trash can on the desktop is not good enough, as there are ways to recover that data as long as its not over written with other data.

Thus, do a full format of the drives before you give the system away or sell it on, you never want someone peeking through your sensitive documents! You can do that via software like Darik’s Boot and Nuke or similar. Look for “Hard Disk wiper” to find a tool that suits your needs!
Note: For a more in-depth how-to look at this article from PCWorld.com.

3. Clean before you sell:

If you are going to sell your old beast on, it helps immensly in selling it when its cleaned!
Things like an anti-static brush and a vaccuum cleaner can help with the finer dust, and if its really full of dust you can also try a leaf blower or similar on a low-power mode.

A clean system always sells better then a case full of thick dust!

4: Think of a charity shop or thrift shop:

Maybe you are not interested in selling, why not give it to a thrift shop or a charity? There are always people who simply cannot afford a computer, and your help can enable them to finally own a computer!

Of course it depends on your country if this is even possible in your area, but helping others is always better then throwing your old system in the trash.

5: Use the storage in an enclosure:

Another option is to move the storage devices to an external enclosure, so you can keep your data or the drives for other things like music or videos. You can ask your local computer shop to move the hard disk or other media to your new fancy enclosure. Easiest would be to ask them to buy you an enclosure but that might come at relatively high extra costs.

Left shows an image of a SATA plug, consisting of two smaller plugs. Right shows an IDE plug, consisting of two plugs, one of which with many many pins.
Picture 1. IDE and SATA ports on a hard disk.

If you would rather stay cheap, look at picture 1.

Unless you are not comfortable with taking a look inside your computer, ask the computer shop to move your drives across. Otherwise, compare the two hard drives shown in the picture to your system. If the plugs on you system look like the left, you look for an SATA 3.5 inch enclosure. If they look like the right, you look for an iDE 3.5 inch enclosure.

These enclosures will simply plug into your new PC, and work just like they used to. (Unless they have died of age of course, you might want to check that first!)
Re-using drives like this is good for the environment and gives you more space to work with for cheap!

And you can also do this with DVD drives! Look for an external 5.25 (five and a quarter) inch enclosures to help you along. Then you can ask a computer shop just like the hard drives to swap the DVD burner over.

Things of note:

For point 5, it is recommended that you use a tool like CrystalDiskInfo to regularly check if the drive you used for an enclosure is still running well. Otherwise you might end up in a situation where your old drives might fail at random and your music collection bites the dust! No one wants that, right?


Disposing your computer has many options, but also really important points for safety and selling.
I hope this article helped you get the most of your old computers or even help others gain a bit more computer knowhow!

Thanks for reading!

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