What To Do With Old Computers

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Technology is moving at an extreme rate. While we try to stay updated with the newer versions of computers, your current system in use gets outdated fast.

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We might want to get rid of the old PC simply because something is new on the horizon or if the old computer is broken. It doesn’t matter what the scenario is, there are tons of things you can do with the old PCs.

The possibilities are endless, from servers to donations to helping society with research. We have compiled a list of the best options for your old computer. Have a look and opt for the alternative that best suits you.

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Things to Do With Old Computers

The compiled list created below encompasses scenarios for both working and non-working computers. Please choose the alternative accordingly to your personal circumstances.

Make a Home Server

A lot of people are confused about servers. Servers are roles that computers take. They provide certain services to clients (computers). A server can be made to work on just a local network or over the internet. So, a normal desktop can be used as a server.

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The process is technical to explain in a written form. Just understand that you can make Network Attached Storage, Game, Website, Email, etc., servers. You will have to check out a few youtube videos, but it is a possible DIY project for you.

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Practice on these old computers to polish the fundamentals of creating a server. Once you get the hang of it, you can always purchase NAS cases to customize your NAS server.

If you are a person who cares about society/science, then we wholeheartedly recommend this option. 

There is plenty of research currently going on in the world. These research programs require high computing power to conduct experiments, interpret data and do calculations.

Donating your PC’s computing power to a collective computing system is possible. This action, in turn, provides computing power to numerous researchers when needed.

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Few simple google searches, and you will find tons of options. Here are some leading research systems that utilize donated computing power.

  • Seti
  • Folding Home
  • Rosetta
  • Science United
  • IBM’s World Community Grid for Medical & humanitarian Research
  • The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search
  • Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing

Pick any one of them or find one that meets with your ideology. These programs will likely suggest a particular software to download, like BOINC, which will make the donating part possible.

There are plenty of organizations that take your old pc and send them to someone who needs it. Some popular organizations to check out are:

  • National Cristina Foundation
  • World Computer Exchange
  • Digitunity
  • Computer with Causes
  • Computer Aid
  • RRRcomputer.org

These are only some organizations working towards closing the digital divide in the world. Just do a simple google search, and many organizations will pop up. Any one of them will do! 

Some organizations act as a sort of donation marketplace for towns like Freecycle. We recommend checking those out too.

Try Selling It

 If you have stopped using your old PC completely, it is a complete non-earning asset. We recommend listing it on eBay or any other marketplace that you can find. 

The amount of money you get will be according to the PC specs and its working condition, but it’s worth a shot. Selling it will give you two important benefits:

  • A little money in the pocket from an asset that would otherwise earn nothing.
  • A little bit of extra storage in the house

If you have PIPO boxes in working conditions, those can be sold as lightweight CPUs. 

Surface Device parts are always in demand because repairing them is very risky, so the chances of repair shops buying surfaces are high.

For Mac users, we have some very good news. They are still in high demand. It doesn’t matter if the screen is busted, keys don’t work, or the trackpad isn’t usable. If the CPU works, you will probably sell it for good money.

A New trend of users is currently going on where users are buying busted MacBooks and turning them into headless CPUs.

headless macbook setup

We see average prices soaring from $50 to $600 depending upon the model of the laptop. Repair shops are also highly likely to buy it for parts.

It doesn’t matter which PC you have; check out prices in this market and make a listing with a lower or similar price tag. Anything is better than just storing the pc in an old closet.

Trade-in the Old PC

Plenty of organizations also provide trade-in options. You just bring in your old pc, and they will evaluate it, and a reasonable valuation will be given. Companies like these generally provide you with a gift card or voucher that you can use to buy other stuff.

Some of the companies known for this method are:

  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Staples
  • Lenovo.
  • Dell
  • Apple
  • Microsoft

These are only some of the companies that popped into our heads. Plenty of organizations are present; a simple google search will bring you a list of them. Opt for one that provides the best trade-in value.

There will be eligibility criteria for trade-in programs. Some companies have a list of devices they allow for trade-in, whereas some allow all brands. Check if you are eligible and their trade-in program FAQs before moving forward with it.

Recycle the Old PC

recycle old computer

If the PC is completely broken or the trade-off from fixing it is too great, we recommend disposing of the PC. However, do not just throw it out in the trash. We recommend taking it to Recycle organization that properly disposes of computers. 

You can find separate individual companies and manufacturers who have adopted recycling policies. If you have time, we recommend checking out organizations with a particular cause. 

These organizations will also help you wipe down your computer’s data to protect you. Plenty of possible threats can arise due to improper disposal of PC. Some of them are :

  • Identity theft
  • Environmental Harm
  • Fines from the government (depends on locations)

Most of these organizations will also provide proceeds from recycling and refurbishing electronic products and use it to help research, cancer patients, schools, churches, help reduce the digital divide in the world, etc.

If you can find organizations like this, it’s a bonus; else, at least take it to a proper recycling center to have your conscience clean.

We recommend checking out the following organizations. They provide recycling opportunities for your old PC.

  • Dell, Epson, HP, etc. (check out the manufacturer company of devices, they will most likely have a recycle program)
  • Recycle Computers 4 Cancer
  • Recycle For Cause
  • Computer Recycling Center
  • New life tech group
  • Staples
computer recycling warehouse

These are only some of the examples we have taken. Try to find a similar type of organization near to you through google. These organizations will first try to fix and refurbish the device. 

If the organization can fix the PC, they will donate it to people who need computers; else, they will recycle it safely.

If you have difficulty finding a recycling center, try using the websites of Earth911 or Consumer Technology Association. These websites will help you locate recycling centers through your zip code.

Salvage the Parts

salvage computer part

Now it will depend on what model of PC you have but the things that might be possible of use in the future:

  • Hard drive/ SSD
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Ram (situational)
  • Monitor
  • Connection Cables
  • External Speakers of PC
  • Cooling Fans, Chassis Fans (situational, will be reusable if the size fits for mostly AMD users)

If cooling fans or chassis fans are compatible with a newer rig, ensure the fan’s Thermal Design Power (TDP) exceeds the TDP of the device. If it’s less, do not use it.

We can create multiple monitor setups or even use monitors as TVs. Amazon firesticks, Mi boxes, or any other streaming sticks can easily be used on these displays, provided you meet the following criteria:

  • The display should produce resolutions that are compatible with the streaming sticks.
  • Only select monitors have inbuilt speakers; else, you will have to connect an external speaker via Bluetooth or cable.
  • Adapters to connect the display with streaming sticks.
computer using amazon firestick

We can also buy caddies for the hard drive & SSD, which can be used as storage devices (like pen drives). 

harddrive caddies

The Ram is a bit tricky! Every Ram will have a particular generation, like DDR3, 4, or 5. Your second computer must also have a motherboard that supports that generation of Ram to reuse these sticks.

E.g., A motherboard with a DDR3 slot cannot accept a DDR4 Ram. If the slots are compatible, use it else; there is no point in retaining the Ram.

Use It as a Communal / Guest Room PC

If the PC is still working, let’s milk it for all it has. We recommend making it a communal PC for your home. 

Something all family members can use, kids can do homework in, maybe even connect it to a sound system for YouTube/ Spotify music around the house.

 If you have guest rooms, you can also have the PC set up there so that guests have the option to use it. It entirely depends on what you are comfortable with.

Some users with old laptops, surfaces, and PIPO boxes use it as a kitchen device. It is handy to look at youtube recipes or play music while cooking.

Experiment With New Operating Systems

Now we know what you are thinking. Our current laptops can house multiple OS, so why bother with the old PC, right?

The problem is OS takes a lot of space. Unless you have a lot of storage, it might not be that feasible to house a lot of OS. 

With an old PC, you can experiment with Linux, Chrome OS, or even use a normal desktop to run Mac OS using Bootcamp or creating a Hackintosh (Mac OS in an Apple unauthorized PC).

We have specific content tailored to install windows on mac for playing a game. If you are planning on experimenting with Macbooks, we recommend checking it out to get the installation procedure.

You will also find lower operating system requirements for Linux and Chrome OS than traditional windows operating systems. So even a PC with old hardware might run these types of OS fluently.

However, check each operating system’s requirement and see which is the most feasible for the PC.



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