Sometimes, during the process of keeping up to date with computer technology, you end up with a pile of old hardware you don’t know what to do with. There are things that you can do with an older PC to get some more use out of it, but sometimes there just isn’t anything that important you want to pursue. Sometimes you simply want it gone. Should you just throw it away?

Well, we’ll look at some options for you.

Use It For Parts

oldhardware Sometimes when you’re troubleshooting a PC, there is no better friend to have than an old PC you don’t care about too much. You can scrounge it for parts as needed. For example:

  • Need to rule out whether that new video card is fried or not? Throw in your old video card from your old PC and see if you get a picture.
  • Need to move/copy some data from your hard drive? You can attach your old hard drive as a slave and move data onto it.
  • Did your CD drive just die? Why not take the one from your old computer?

Donate It

Just because you have no use for an old PC doesn’t mean somebody else can’t use it. Check with your local school district or local charity groups. If you’re considering something like GoodWill, make sure you call them first to see what they will accept. Sometimes they will not take old computers due to the hassle factor.

Others to check would be the National Cristina Foundation, Gifts in Kind International, or the Make a Wish Foundation.

FreeCycle It

Another option is simply to give it away. If you don’t know anybody around you who can use it, you might want to check out As their site puts it:

It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free.

You can list your computer on the site and give it to somebody in your community.

Recycle It

recycle A much better option for disposing of an old computer than throwing it in the trash is to recycle it. Some PC vendors are actually offering to give a discount on a new purchase if you bring in your old computer for recycling. Otherwise, you might check out Earth911 and look for a local place who recycles old computers. Techsoup provides information about computer recycling as well.

If you’re going to give the computer away, you’ll want to make sure you completely clear everything off the computer for security reasons. Simply deleting files isn’t enough. Somebody who is dedicated enough can recover deleted files from the drive. You’ll want something that can wipe the files from the drive. One such option is BCWipe, from Jetico. You can also make use of set of commands on most ATA hard drives called Secure Erase.

Sell It

Lastly, you can always try to sell the computer. It is always an option, but I can’t help but wonder if it is worth the hassle. Most PCs have a horrible resale value because they go out of date and nobody wants them. However, if you offer them super cheap, you just might find a taker.

If you want to give it a try, you might check out your local newspaper, Ebay or CraigsList.