I bought a new computer, what should I do with the older one?

Often, people who purchase a new computer will wonder what to do with their older computer, or if they should just throw it away. Below are some recommendations of what you can do with your older computer.

Use the computer for other things
Give to kids or relatives
Use it for spare parts or cannibalize it
Sell it
Donate your computer
Recycle your computer

Use the computer for other things

Many people think once they get a new computer their old computer automatically becomes obsolete and can't think of what else it could be used for. Surprisingly, you can do a lot with that old computer. Below are some examples.

  • Setup home network - If you do not already have a home network, set one up. Use the older computer as a client on your network. Once your computers have been connected to each other, you can do such things as use your older computer as a storage or even a place to backup files.
  • Printer server - If you have a home network or plan on setting up one, you can use the computer as a printer server, allowing you to have one or more printers shared between multiple computers. Steps on sharing a printer between multiple computers.
  • Alternate operating system - Alternative operating systems, such as Linux and Linux variants, are becoming increasingly popular and for anyone who is interested in trying them, an older computer can make a great Linux computer. Additional information about where to get Linux.
  • NAS - Setup a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) to store backups, MP3 files, videos, and other files.
  • Distributed computing - There are several distributed computing projects that use the power of millions of different computers to help solve complex problems.

Give to kids or relatives

Most kids would love their own computer in their room, even if it is an older computer. See if any of your kids would like to have the families old computer for their own computer. If you decide to allow Internet access on that computer make sure to protect that child while online.

See if any of your family relatives would like to have your computer. Setting up a family member such as a grandparent with their own computer especially one who has never had a computer can make a huge difference in their life.

Use it for spare parts or cannibalize it

Open the computer and take any spare parts you think you will need for your new computer. Things you may want to keep include: fans, power supply, CD-ROM, floppy drive, hard drives, and memory.

The parts mentioned above can be kept for potential future problems with your new computer or parts such as a CD-ROM, hard drive, or memory can be added into your new computer to give it additional capabilities.

Sell it

Although selling an older computer can be difficult today with prices on computers becoming so cheap if you need a little extra cash you may think about selling the computer. Sell the computer at a yard sell, local newspaper, or online auction site.

Donate your computer

There are several places that will accept working computers as donations to be used for the less fortunate, schools, etc. If you're interested in donating your computer, see the computer disposal page.

Recycle your computer

If your computer is so old that no one will accept it as a donation and you no longer want to use it, consider recycling it properly instead of just throwing it away. Additional information about recycling your computer as well as companies and organizations that do this can be found on our computer disposal page.