Network Cabling, old computer disposalHere at Progressive Office, we often are asked “What should I do with my old computer?” Your computer is dead. Or maybe it is just not good enough anymore. Well, first, what does “dead” mean. Dead means it won’t turn on or it won’t boot up or that it keeps crashing. Just about any problem can be fixed. And we all know that putting a computer on the curb for trash pickup should be avoided.

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  1. Revive it – The hardware hasn’t died but the system has just outlived its usefulness. Just reinstall the OS and give it to someone that can make good use of it. A fresh reinstall usually will make it run like new and will be good enough for surfing the Internet and other basic purposes.
  2. Repurpose it – Older machines can often be used as file or print servers. You can also turn them into anti-virus and spam filtering systems that sit between your Internet and your network. Older machines are ideal for repurposing. Find a use for it.
  3. Cannibalize it – You can typically salvage 2 or 3 components of an older machine for use as replacement parts in newer machines. You can save the keyboard, mouse and hard drives. PCI video and network cards are often useful. Memory modules might enable you to add RAM to a machine. Notebooks are more difficult to cannibalize because so much that is in them is proprietary.
  4. Donate it – If your system just has to go, than please consider donating it to a local school or to a disadvantage individual or personal friend in need. There are also dozens of non-profit organizations, both local and national, that will take used computers.The best place to start — if you have working hardware in good condition — is the Cristina Foundation, dedicated to putting computers into the hands of “people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons”. They may take in hardware that can be repaired and put to use, but you’re best off making sure whatever they get is in decent working order (if not always cutting-edge).Other groups have similar demands but different aims:
  • PCs for Schools
  • Computers with Causes prefers functional hardware whenever possible.
  • TechSoup is a website of charitable groups looking for PC hardware.
  • Freecycle is an aggregate of local groups, each dedicated to providing a place for people to provide things for re-use; computer hardware is just one thing they cover.
  • Craigslist also has a free/wanted section in their site.

Finally, if you have no other choice but to throw it away, be sure to at least avoid sending it to a landfill. Local governments often have annual electronic recycling events. BestBuy, IKEA and Staples also have recycling events although they sometimes charge a small fee of around $10 per system.

Good luck in your system upgrade effort. Contact us if you need any help.

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