Proper Ways to Dispose of An Old Computer

When the time comes to dispose of an old computer, you need to take the proper steps to ensure it is discarded properly. The two main concerns when getting rid of an old computer include the fact that they contain heavy metals like many electronics, and the fact that they contain a variety of important and personal information that you don’t want to end up in the wrong hands where it could make you vulnerable to identity theft or fraud. Here are some helpful tips for disposing of the old computer safely.

how to properly get rid of old computers

First steps to getting rid of an old computer

Before discarding the computer, make sure that all of your personal and important data is backed up. You may use an external hard drive or a USB stick to do this, or perhaps take advantage of cloud storage drives.

After backing up data, take all of the necessary steps to remove all personal information from the computer. Simply discarding items into the recycling bin of the computer does not actually remove it from the computer and can leave a record of this action on the hard drive, which a talented computer hacker could uncover. To really make sure this information is wiped out completely, it is necessary to actually format your hard drive. Formatting will remove all data, which is why it is of the utmost importance to back up anything you wish to save before moving on to this step.

Next, think about what you wish to do with the computer. Does it still work? Can you salvage any parts from it? Do you wish to give it away, sell it, or properly dispose of it in a way that is safe for the environment? Decide what you wish to do before moving on to the next step.

If you have chosen to either attempt to sell the computer or give it to someone else, take the time to clean it first. Wipe down the case and clean the screen and keyboard with some wipes made for electronics. If the inside appears really dusty, give it a blast with some compressed canned air to remove debris.

Find new use for an old computer

If the computer actually still works and you are just upgrading, you may be able to find some good ways to repurpose the computer and it keep it in the home. The computer could be reconfigured to become a shared storage unit for other computers within the home. This can be done by using one of many free open-source programs such as FreeNAS that allow users to convert old computers into servers. If doing this, you may want to add additional storage as well as a basic operating system like Ubuntu.

Another option is to use the old computer for a backup in case something were to go wrong with the new computer. If you still plan to save it for yourself as backup, there is no need to remove older files, in fact, you might wish to keep them there as backups of data. Other options include the installation of an operating system such as Linux, which has very basic system requirements, so that you can keep the computer around to use for basic tasks from time to time. You may also be able to repurpose the computer and have it act as a router so that you can receive WiFi on other devices or computers through it.

Sell or give away the computer

Put your computer up for sale on an online shopping website, or through a classified ad in a local paper. You can even use a local supermarket bulletin board to do the job. For those in Bangladesh, you can post free ads here to sell your old computers. Just make sure to include a photo(s) of the computer and a few specifics, plus a contact number or email. In some cases, you may be able to get more money by selling individual components instead of the computer as a whole.

[Read more: How to Sell Used Computers]

Consider giving the computer to someone who may find it to be everything they need. Or, donate the computer to a non-profit organization, school, or church. If all else fails, offer the computer to someone free of charge. This is a better option than having it end up as landfill waste. Be certain all personal data is removed before exploring this option, as you may not know who ends up with it.

Other ways to dispose of an old computer

Do your homework and research as to your computer manufacturer’s policy on disposal of old computers. If you feel they are ethical and dispose of used machines in an environmentally friendly manner, contact them for advice if you can find no other way to get rid of it. You might be able to use your machine as a trade in on a new one as well, where they will recycle the computer and perhaps offer a discount on a new model. Seeking out a computer recycling or disposal firm like Premier Surplus is another good way to dispose of a computer in a safe manner. If you would like more information about computer and electronic recycling solutions, you can find a wide range of helpful resources on the Premier Surplus website here:


There are several ways to rid yourself of an old computer. First, be sure there is nothing else you wish to do with the machine, or no parts you wish to salvage before exploring other options. If you’re certain you want to get rid of the machine, use any of the ways mentioned above. You might even make a little money in the process.


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