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Before You Dispose of That Computer

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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

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September 26, 20110 found this helpful

Excellent advice, Suntydt! I use the hard drive (19 GB) from the first computer I ever got in 2001 in an external Ultra Hard Drive Enclosure as my file backup.


I currently have a (71 GB purchased in 2005) computer and have no doubt it will last the rest of my life. So, as you said, "Why replace it?" :-) Thumbs up!

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September 26, 20110 found this helpful

BTW: in addition to what I said above, if you need to replace your desktop but really want a laptop you can get a laptop with a "docking station". It is a special, well, kind of like a holster for your laptop. You set your monitor on top of it. You usually can add a keyboard and mouse to it as well. When you want to use your laptop like a desktop you plug it into the docking station. You docking station usually has its own power supply as well. So once the laptop is plugged in you turn on your monitor and press a power button on the docking station. Your laptop starts up like a desktop CPU and your off. When your done you can shut the laptop down and leave it locked into your docking station until you either turn it back on or unplug your laptop and take off with it.


And speaking of monitor, keyboard and mouse, these are peripherals you can always carry over to a new machine if you so desire.

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September 27, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks great ideas.Of course I am, computer not, I have found after just getting my first laptop that I love many want to keep up with what they think is the latest greatest. A friend who has been in on this computer world since early time said "because it's new doesn't mean it's better'. I keep that in mind.After having a son who something always needed done, needed more; its nice just me and learning a little as I go. I do now see what I had been seeing on TV, how fast my laptop is(I had thought it was special effects).

What I wanted to say, other than thanks, was if disposing please do it right. We cant have computer pieces in our land fills, they need to be given to the city when there is a special drop off site.


People do not understand the dangers of some of the parts and what they can/are doing to the environment (as well as cell phones). Sure you know all of the reasons why they are dangerous, maybe you could share that. I worked with all woman's center and we loved getting computers, so many people are just learning these skills. If not by necessity then by missing out on that time frame where others did it for us and now they don't.

I will leave you with a laugh,I got Windows 7 for Dummies and I feel more like a Dummy now, it was in a foreign language to me..it does not come natural to all of us. Thank you!

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September 28, 20110 found this helpful

I wholeheartedly agree, the only new thing on my 3.5-year-old desktop is the hard drive. My old one "fried" during this past July's heatwave. The monitor is the same one I used with this computer's predecessor. I only turn it on for others, so it's no biggie, lol!


I've had the printer for several years too and I print so little, I think I'm even on the original toner cartridge? Hmm... maybe I've put in one new one.

Luana, I have to laugh at your comments, although I've been a computer junkie since the days of DOS and Windows 3.1 (the very earliest PC operating systems,) my hubby barely knows how to turn it on!

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April 2, 20140 found this helpful

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!

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April 5, 20140 found this helpful

Giving your computer to Goodwill will not allow anyone else to use it. Look around and see if you see any for sale. Dell has a contract with Goodwill to purchase all of the computer hardware that people donate. So when you donate a compute to Goodwill, you help support the business because Dell will give them money for it. I think that Dell recycles the parts of the computer, but I am not completely sure on that. If your computes are ancient or trash I would put Goodwill on the donation list. It can come after education.

No, you may not necessarily resuse your old mouse and keyboard on a new computer. Your old mouse and keyboard might have PS2 plugs, small round six-pin connectors, and many new computers only have USB ports for connecting them.

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