Getting Rid of Old Computer Hardware

When you move or reorganize your home, or buy a new computer, you need to git rid of your old hardware. This weekend, get rid of your old computer hardware by giving it away, donating it, or recycling it.

Depending on the condition of your hardware, your options might be limited. Decide what to do with your old computer:

  • Give away the computer – If you know a family that needs a computer, it’s best to help someone that you know needs the computer.
  • Donate the computer – There are nonprofit organizations that need good computers.
  • Recycle the computer – Really old or broken computers need to be recycled.

Give Away the Computer

If you know of a family or individual in need, you can help by giving someone a nice, working computer. The biggest problem with giving someone a computer is that you need to remove your personal files and data. If you hand the wrong person your computer, they can recover your data.

If you trust the recipient of the hardware and are concerned that they wouldn’t even be able to install software easily, you can simply create a new administrator user on the computer and delete your current users. That way, the family gets a fully functional computer with software already installed.

If you are uncertain whether your data is safe, you must reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. To learn how to do this, see How to Erase and Format a Hard Drive from

Donate the Computer

If you still want to give away your fully-functional computer, but don’t know a person or family that needs it, you can donate the computer.

It is harder than you would think to donate a computer. Schools and nonprofits often have specific requirements for computers that you must meet. If you know that a nonprofit needs your computer, then certainly donate it. Otherwise, you can donate your computer for refurbishment.

To learn how to donate a computer to be refurbished in your area, see Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Directory. This Microsoft program includes lots of locations that accept Windows and Mac machines.

Recycle the Computer

If the computer doesn’t work or is older than 5 years, you should recycle it. Do not just put an old computer in the trash. Most parts of a computer come from expensive and dwindling resources. By recycling, you can help the environment and help with the price of consumer electronics.

Before recycling your computer, remove the hard drive and destroy it. To learn how to do this, see How to Destroy a Hard Drive from WikiHow.

To find a responsible recycle center near you, see the Map of Certified Electronics Recyclers from the EPA.

By Rama. (Own work) [CeCILL ( or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (], via Wikimedia Commons

(Unmodified Image: Macintosh Plus, CC license by Rama)

Author: Steph

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