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First off let me say that if your PC or laptop does everything you want it to do, why replace it? If it is a matter of hard drive space for more applications or files, upgrade you technology with a larger hard drive. I have had my laptop since 2004 and it was used when I got it. It still does everything I need it to do. I have increased RAM over the years. I purchased an external hard drive to back up important files, and make some room on my drive. This is a lot cheaper than a new laptop.
That said, if you are getting rid of a PC, consider what may be on the PC that you can utilize. If you are getting a new desktop, you may be able to take the old hard drive from your current PC and install it in the new one. This is true of the memory (or RAM) as well. But there are different versions of RAM and some are not compatible. For the most part, RAM is not mix and match.
If you are getting a new laptop, similarities may be RAM, power cord and battery. The last two only if it is the same make; a Sony cord and battery won't fit a Dell laptop.
Don't forget when you get your new machine you may have many files you will want to transfer to it. If you can burn a CD, that may be one way to perform the task, and a thumb drive or external drive would be another.
Once you have the new machine and you are done with the old one, you have a couple options. If the PC worked before you stripped it or still works because you didn't strip it, consider giving it to a younger family member (this includes cousins, not just other kids in the family). If no one is interested or you have none to offer it to you may consider neighborhood families or friends of the family that may benefit from it. The Goodwill and Salvation Army are also an option, as well as the Boys and Girls Club or possibly even your church.
If the items are truly ancient and/or trash, you can try a local technical school or university that offers A+ classes. The instructor may be interested in the items for instructional purposes. Technicians need to learn the old as well as the new.
There are also aspects of the computer that are recyclable but few people know the what or the how to of the process. Ask around and you may find someone that does.
Lastly consider donating printers and scanners as well as other accessories. If you do throw away a PC, know that the monitor must be processed a special way because of the gasses it contains. Call around and see if you can find someone that can dispose of it properly. This does not include laptop monitors or flat screens.
Source: Used to run a non-profit recycling computers.
By Suntydt from Tazewell, TN
That's all very good information. I have a question if anyone can answer for me? I've replaced the hard drive in my desktop once, because the old one died...and it's just so slow, freezes up on me and gives me error messages. I've cleaned it, have a backup drive, and don't put much on it. I can't even get to Internet Explorer without it freezing. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
ALWAYS remove your hard drive when getting rid of your PC. Even if you erase the hard drive, it will have data on it that still can be retrieved by a savvy computer tech. I had one done by a "professional". I wasted my money in the end because he did what I would have done, which is not the proper way. You DO NOT want your information in the wrong hands. Even if you give it to a family member, you do not know where it will go from there.
Remove the hard drive and destroy it before selling or giving your old computer away. Best advice I can give you to protect your identity.
By Susan from Indiana
Rather than destroying your old hard drive, save it! External hard drives are expensive. You can get a case for a hard drive for around $20, and with about 5 minutes of work, you have a "new" external hard drive good for backing up files!
Goodwill has a 'Green' partnership with Dell Computers; In most areas of the Country you can get rid of your old PC or Laptop at a Local Goodwill Store!
Staples will help you recycle your old computer(s) for cheap if you live in Washington or Oregon. It appears that the program is just in those two states.
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Hello Frugal Friends, I've got a question for you. I bought a new computer last year, and now I want to know what to do with my old one. It's become a eye sore in my computer room. How do I go about disposing it properly? Thanks for all the help.
We always remove our hard drives from old computers before getting rid of them just a safety precaution and for peace of mind.
This just came out in the Costco magazine. Go to costco.com, click on electronics, and then on trade-in and recycle. If it has a cash value, they will buy it. If not, they will still send you a prepaid shipping label and you can send it to them. They will recycle everything that isn't currently usable, so it won't go to waste.
Check with your local library or school. They sometimes take donations for afterschool projects. You may even try the YMCA or Local Boys and Girls Club. Hope this helps. Some computer repair stores may even buy it for parts.
If the hard drive is safely cleaned off, I would Freecycle it.
The Freecycle in our area is all the time needing computers, they get grabbed up quick. You can look on Freecycle.com to find the link in your area to join. You may have other things also you would like to freecycle. It's a great way to clean out....
I live in Canada in a small town and we take any computers, televisions and electronics to our local dump for free. It is recycled from there.
Freecycle.org - people want those computer parts or all of it desperately! Theyll come and get them whenever you want!
Do you have any tips disposing of or recycling computers? Post them below.
Check out the site (as seen on Oprah) www.earth911.org. There are tips for all kind of recycling.
I would love to know how to reuse them. My dad sells computers and is constantly "throwing out" old computers, monitors and other accessories. I did see on this site(thriftyfun): magnets made from keyboard keys. Thats a great one.
When we have any computer parts that we don't want or they don't work, we just set out at the curb and they disappear fast!
When you buy a new one from Dell, I know they have a recycling program. I imagine other computer companies would also.
Here in Austin, the Goodwill Industries will accept all donations of old computer or computer parts. They fix them and then sell them at their stores.
check with local church's or agencies in your community there is a pastor in our area that collects old computers and refurbishes them for kids who cannot afford to buy them he gives them to those kids.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
In our home town we have a place called Pathways of the Future. They will take old computers and fix them up. Give them to the senior citizens or to a needy family who can not afford to go out and buy a computer. You should check out in your town and see if there is something like that. - Margie (02/07/2001)
As a homeschooling mother years ago I went to a hands-on museam and guess what we found? A whole exhibit with computers that children could take apart and play around with. At that time we had a friend that repaired computers and he gave us several old ones to take apart. We also had a boy scout troop. Can you imagine a lot of boys of various ages around tables with tools? We let them take the computers apart and make things with them. The one I rememeber best was a small piece that looked like a bug and was made into a tietac. There were other items also but I will always remember that painted bug. :) So check with local schools. Our high school children had old computers donated to them. They are learning how to repair them and then the school uses them. So check with the schools, museams, and scouts. At last resort check with the crafts in your area. (02/07/2001)
Many computer clubs refurbish old computers and then donate them to schools and needy children. Why not look for a computer club in your area and donate your old computers to them. Dee (02/07/2001)
Check your local Schools sometimes they take them and refurbish them for the students to use. - Jo (02/08/2001)
There are many recycling programs for equipment in local areas. Check with your local officials to see what they recommend for recycling equipment. - Susan (02/08/2001)
Find a program in a nearby city or town where they reprogram and rebuild newer systems for reading programs and for schools.Or take parts and pieces out and makes X-mas decorations for a computer friend or relative or a computer themed X-mas tree. - Rachel (02/08/2001)
I can't believe I just read this question and today I read the answer in my new Good Housekeeping Mag. They said...."If your old PC is a 486 or better, the National Cristina Foundation (800-CRISTINA) will match the computer with a needy organization and pick it up from your home.To donate an ancient or nonworking computer, call your local Goodwill, 800-664-6577. The recycling service of IBM will collect (and refurbish if needed) computer; $29.99 for home pickup. Call 888-SHOP-IBM, reference number 06P7513.Kim (02/08/2001)
You have a lot of what to do with old computers. I am sure there is a person in your town, who works on computers, independently and probably will be more than glad to buy them from you. However, what ever you do with the computers, make sure you remove the hard drive from it or someone esle can can find information on them that you may not want them to find. Check into this. (11/08/2001)
Dude, soupe it up, throw in an Intel Celeron D processor, upgrade the motherboard/chipset, 2 gigs of ram, new hard drives, cd/dvd burner, 22" LCD monitor, thats a hecka good idea!!!!
By Computer Nerd
You could use it as a server of some kind. (08/06/2005)
you can use old computers for anything i use an old P2 laptop as my web server- webbspinner.com and i use another p2 for space file server, throw in a NIC card and some decent sized harddrives and you can store files you dont want cluddering you good computer. look on google theres a ton of things you can do (05/19/2006)
By joshua webb
i have a Penitum 100mhz with 64mb acting as a file server on my home network, and a Pentium MMX 200mhz machine with 128mb set up as a dedicated web browser. there are many uses and i hate to see people throw something away because it is "too old". i refurbish them, give them fresh Windows installations, and donate or sell them cheaply around my area. (08/19/2006)
I don't know why, but I have a compulsive interest in reusing that which others deem as garbage, and I am not talking about actual garbage. Computers are one of those area's. I set up an old computer for my grandparents to use for internet and solitair, that's really about all it can do too. I also fixed up a win95 based machine to replace a deaf neighbor's broken win3.1 based system. All he does is play solitair. I took his broken computer(beyond repair) and made fridge magnets out of the cpu and ram by useing the rare earth magnets out of the hdd. My next project is an old pentium 180 Gateway from the 90's, my plan is to make it into a nintendo emulator game machine to be hooked up to the tv. Because I am cheap, I have never bought my own a game console, but I grew up in the 80's where I became addicted to the old nintendo and super nintendo so this beast of a machine will get a lot of use if I can make it work. (01/19/2007)
Install linux on it, hook up a joystick, load up all the free linux games, (a lot are cheezy but what the heck, some are Fun!) my reccomendation would be PCLinuxOS.
If you plan on recycling, and are worried about your data find and run Darik's boot and nuke. DBAN will securely erase all your info, totally wiping it, and it's free. (06/06/2007)
try Freecycle. Someone in your area is bound to want them, be it a charity or an individual. Otherwise use them as coasters (bits of) and placemats or make into jewellery (06/06/2007)
There's a Salvation Army Store in an affluent area my husband the teacher always goes to to buy used computers for his kids/classrooms. Schools are always looking for donations. Sometimes they even have computer technicians to fix them all up - You would be surprised what can be useful to them...We have re-used printers, monitors, keyboards, and hardrives. The kids aren't necessarily on the internet - & sometimes only need limited memory for playing education software and for keyboarding... (06/06/2007)