How Do You Dispose of Old Computers?

| Updated on February 28, 2024

Once new software or hardware is released, users are expected to upgrade to the latest version. The consequences of not upgrading may include security breaches and slow services, which most people can’t afford to deal with.    

Although you may love your old computer, because you are used to it, sooner or later you will be forced to change it for a better and faster model. It might take time, but it will happen. When this happens, you will either have to sell your old computer for parts, donate, or recycle them. 

For those who have chosen to recycle computers, you are doing your part in preserving the planet.  Here you will learn everything you need to do before recycling your computer. 

Steps to Take to Properly Dispose of an Old Computer


Despite having an external storage device, most people still save files and media on their computers. So before disposing of a computer, it is important to remove files that may have been saved on the computer and back them up. 

Backing up involves sending files to other storage locations or devices to prevent losing them. Back-ups can be done in three ways. A person can either back up by transferring all the files on the old computer into a new computer. The second option is transferring the files to an external storage device. The third option is to save the files on the cloud. The individual may choose to use all three ways to be thorough. 

Sign Out from all Accounts

Once you have completed the backup process, proceed to sign out from all accounts. For instance, if an individual has permanently signed in their G-mail or Facebook account into their computer, they must sign out of these accounts before disposing of them. This is to prevent anyone from accessing the accounts once the computer has been disposed of. 

Disconnect from Wireless Devices

Usually, after the first connection with an external wireless device, the computer will most likely connect automatically with the device for subsequent uses. Disposing of your laptop without making sure to disconnect these devices can lead to a security breach.  This is because your passwords and other security protocols may be compromised. 

So, before disposing of the computer, you must ensure that all these devices have been disconnected from the computer and can no longer connect automatically.

Erase the Computer Drive or Restore to Factory Setting 

After the first three steps have been done, the next step is to make sure the computer is completely erased. All the documents that have already been backed up and the documents that are regarded as unimportant should be permanently deleted. An easy way to do this is to restore to the factory setting. By restoring to the factory setting, the computer returned to the state it was bought.

It is always better to restore to factory settings rather than deleting the files. This is because a person might miss out on deleting some hidden files that need to be deleted. Alternatively, you could combine both options. 

The Last Stage: Resell, Donate or Recycle

This last stage is where you dispose of the computer. If the computer is in good condition, the owner can resell it to make some money. Even if the computer has few faults but is still usable, it can be sold but at a low price. There are several e-commerce websites that the owner can use to advertise and sell the computer without any hassle. The owner may even find a buyer from close friends, relatives, and colleagues. 

The other option is to donate the computer to organizations in need. There are some NGOs that accept computer donations so they can give to the less privileged. The laptop owner can decide to donate to such an organization, thereby giving to a good cause. 

Finally, you can consider recycling, which is one of the most affordable computer disposal options, according to Janvi Panthri, an expert writer and editor in the IT realm. As much as it might seem like a piece of junk to you, your old computer could be salvaged through refurbishment or reusing certain parts to give new life to old technology.

For this option, recycling, the owner will have to contact computer manufacturers or electronic stores with recycling programs. Some of these stores also have donation programs, so it’s up to the computer owner. Also, you can sell your computer for parts.

The most important thing to note is that a computer shouldn’t just be thrown in the dumpster because the owner no longer has use for it. That kind of disposal is improper and unsafe for the environment. 

The above-listed steps are the recommended way of disposing of an old computer.

Also Read- What is Remote Desktop?

Adam Green

Adam believes it's pretty cool to be a software expert, but it's much cooler to share all the expertise he has gathered in all his years of experimenting and learning. He is contributing his knowledge and skills to Get Assist and also been featured as a contributor in many popular tech sites.

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