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what to do with old computers

Do you have some old computers? Some of these computers may be entirely broken while others may be working. What to do with old computers? Some cool things to do with an old computer are described in this post on the MiniTool website and you should do depending on your actual situations.

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At some point in your computing life, you may choose to purchase a new laptop or desktop to replace the old computer. Then, here comes a question: what to do with your old computers? You may put your laptops or desktops aside with much dust. Perhaps this is a common behavior.

But in these computers, some may be damaged completely while some can work normally but are not the latest or preferred models. Instead of letting your old computers collect dust, you can consider using them for other things, giving to other persons, selling, donating, recycling, etc.

In the following part, let’s see some details on how to dispose of old computers in 3 cases.

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What to Do with Old Laptops or Desktops

Case 1: What to Do with Old Computers That Don’t Work

If your old computers are broken, you won’t use them as normal but perhaps they still have some useful components. If you don’t attempt to fix them, the following are some things that you can dispose of the old laptops or desktops.

Use the Display If It Can Work

If your computer doesn’t function but the monitor is still working, there is a choice for you - set the monitor as a second display.

Many persons who work on computers prefer using a second monitor and you can also have a try. Most operating systems allow you to configure the second monitor or even triple monitor since you can open a reference document on one screen, watch videos or do any other things on the second or third screen.

use dual monitors

Tip: Perhaps you may be interested in this post - Second Monitor Not Detected on Windows 10? – Here Are Fixes.

Turn the Old Hard Drive into an External Hard Disk

When your old computer is broken, the hard drive may still work. In this circumstance, you can remove the old disk from the older desktop or laptop and make use of it again.

A good option is to turn the functional hard drive of the broken computer into an external hard drive that can be used on your new computer. Besides, you can also recover files from the old drive to your new disk or completely format it for further storage.

turn an old hard drive to an external hard drive

Tip: In our previous post - How to Get Data off an Old Hard Drive? The Methods Are Here, we show you much information on getting data from the old disk.

Sell Parts to a Computer Repair/Rebuild Shop or Sell PCs Online

In a repair shop, some computer experts can fix common issues or send computers away for major repairs. Sometimes, these shops also purchase laptops or desktops that are not working but have functional components. These items are cheap.

Or you can sell your computers online since many organizations can buy back a computer if its components have a future use. For an online reseller, the newer computer models are the best fit.

Tip: Additionally, you can use the old computer for spare parts. That is, you can keep your fans, power supply, CD-ROM, floppy drive, memory, and hard drives as backups in case parts of your new computer fails.

Case 2: What to Do with Old Computers That Still Work

Sometimes you buy a new laptop or desktop since the old computer runs slowly or has a small capacity rather than the old PC is broken. In this case, what to do with an old laptop or desktop?

Here are some methods to get rid of old but functional PCs and put them to good use.

Use Old Computer for Other Things

1. Turn an Old Computer Into a Do-Anything Home Server

You may have heard of the word – server that is usually in big companies which have a lot of data to store or in the context of web sites. Actually, you can use a server in your home. If you are running a home network and having multiple users including you, your wife/husband or your kids, you can set up network-attached storage or an actual server.

It is not just a matter of plugging your old PC into a network connection and starting it up. Most desktops systems are not configured to be effective storage systems or servers.

To turn the old computer into a home server, you can use the professional tool – FreeNAS that is open-source software designed to turn a PC into a network-attached storage device. It is an ISO file that can be burned to a CD.

To learn more information on this topic, refer to this post - Turn an Old Computer Into a Do-Anything Home Server with FreeNAS8.

2. Use the Old Computer as a Printer Server

If you have multiple computers in your home, you may want to share a printer for convenience or cost-efficiency. How to use the old computer as a printer server? You can go to the Internet and search for detailed steps.

use an old computer as a printer server

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3. Install Alternative Operating System to the Old Laptop or Desktop

As an alternative to the Windows operating system, Linux is becoming increasingly popular. Even if you want to keep Windows, you can also install Linux to do a dual-boot. Usually, Linux can run well on older hardware.

Other Usages:

  • Dedicate it to Distributed Computing
  • Set up a home network
  • Use it as a dedicated game server
  • Use the old computer for old-school gaming
  • Make it a secondary computing server
  • More…

Give to Kids or Relatives

Many kids prefer a computer in their room even if it is an old one. If your child would like to use it, you can give it to him or her. Note that you should protect your kid while online.

Or you can give your old computer to your family members like grandparent. They may never have one and this may make a difference in their life.

Sell Old Computers Online or a Shop

If the computers are broken, you can sell them. If the old computers are functional, you can also sell them to a secondhand shop or some organizations online. Some persons may not be able to afford a new PC or they are looking for a second PC for the family. Then, your old laptop or desktop is what they need.

Note: Before selling your PCs to strangers, you should take some measures to protect your privacy. And we will show you some methods after introducing all the information on what to do with old computers.

Donate Old Computers to Charities, Schools or Families

It is always good to give back. For a family without the resources to purchase a PC, a used computer is a valuable tool.

To help the family in need, you can donate your old laptop or desktop. You can directly donate the PC to the family. Or you can donate your old computers to a non-profit organization and they will allocate the resources. Additionally, you can donate your old computers to some schools so that students can use them for practice.

Case 3: What to Do with Old Computers If They Aren’t Sold or Donated

If your computers are very old, no one wants to accept them as donations or buy them. In this case, you can choose to recycle old computers.

You should know electronic waste including old computers is the fastest growing waste stream globally. This is caused by the shortened lifespan of electronic devices and demands for the newest high-tech products.

You can go to the Internet to find how to recycle old computers. Or go to some offline shops that dispose of old computers.

recycle old computers

Now, cool things to do with an old computer have told to you. If you have some old computers, you can follow the instructions mentioned above to dispose of your old laptops or desktops. Remember to take measures depending on different cases.

Also, you can share the information on what to do with old computers to Twitter to help persons who have a need.

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What to Do with Old Laptops or Desktops If You Sell, Donate or Recycle Them

In the above part, you clearly know how to dispose of old computers and the three methods we have mentioned are selling, donating and recycling old computers. Then, a question comes: what to do with old computers to protect privacy and keep data safe if you sell, donate or recycle them?

When selling, recycling or donating an old computer, it is best to remove the hard drive. But if you don’t want to remove the disk, you should do some things.

Back up Files

Sometimes you save many important files to the hard drive of an old computer. Before selling, donating or recycling it, you should ensure that your data is backed up. To do this work, we recommend using the professional file backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker.

It is designed to back up files via imaging or sync. Also, you can clone a hard drive to another hard drive to keep all the disk data secure. Its Trial Edition offers you a 30-day free trial and you can get it by clicking the following button.

Free Download

Step 1: Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker Trial Edition

  1. Open this software.
  2. Click Keep Trial to enjoy the powerful features within 30 days.
  3. Choose a module for file backup. Here, we choose Local.

MiniTool ShadowMaker local or remote backup

Step 2: Choose Backup Source

  1. In Source of the Backup page, choose files that you want to back up.
  2. Click OK.

choose files to back up

Step 3: Choose a destination to save the backed up files.

Step 4: Go back to the Backup window and click Back up Now to start performing the backup task.

MiniTool ShadowMaker file backup

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Tip: Besides, you can back up files via sync. Here, read this post - How to Sync Folders Windows 10 to External Drive? Top 3 Tools to get some information.

Completely Wipe Your Hard Drive

After finishing data backup, wiping your hard drives completely is what you should do with old computers before donating, selling or recycling them. This is because some criminals may use the disk data including your bank account information, personal images, browsing history or other privacy to do some illegal acts.

How can you wipe the disk? Here the free hard drive eraser, MiniTool Partition Wizard is worth a try. Its Wipe Disk feature can help you easily do this work.

Free Download

wipe disk

Tip: In addition to file backup and disk wiping, there are many other things you can do and this post - Take 6 Preparations to Sell Your Laptop or PC without Worries is what you need.

Bottom Line

Do you have some old laptops or desktops? What to do with old computers or how to dispose of old computers? Now you should know much information after reading this post. Just take measures based on your actual situations.

On the other hand, if you have any other cool things to do with an old computer or have any questions during using MiniTool Software, you can tell us by sending an email to [email protected] or leaving your idea in the comment part below. Thanks in advance.

What to Do With Old Computers FAQ

?️How do you dispose of old computers?
  1. Use the display if it can work
  2. Turn the old disk into an external hard drive
  3. Sell parts to a computer repair shop
  4. Use old computers for other things
  5. Give to kids or relatives
  6. Sell old computers to a secondhand shop
  7. Donate old computers to schools, families or other organizations
  8. Recycle old computers
?️Is it illegal to throw away computers?
In some cities like New York, it's illegal to throw away electronics since they can ruin the environment.
?Does anyone buy old computers?
The answer is yes. Some stores and websites allow you to trade in old computers including laptops and desktops in exchange for store gift cards or cash payments.
?How do I transfer everything from my old computer to my new computer?
To transfer everything from your old computer to a new one, you can use an external hard drive, clone your disk, use a LAN cable or transfer cable, and ask cloud storage for help. Here, you can refer to this post to learn much information - How to Transfer Files from PC to PC? 5 Useful Methods Are Here!
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