What do you do with your old PCs?

What do you do with your old PCs?

Summary: Quick poll ... What do you do with your old PCs? Are you a hoarder or a recycler?

TOPICS: Hardware

Quick poll ... What do you do with your old PCs?

[poll id=269]

I'm a hoarder so I tend to keep everything - some is kept because "it might one day be useful for something" and the rest cannibalized for parts.  The broken stuff I collect until I have a fair amount then I take it to be recycled. 

Hard drives I wipe, and if they're dead I take them apart and destroy the platters manually.

While on the subject of recycling, my biggest hassle used to be old CDs/DVDs.  I could recycle some but the stuff that I burned myself or contained sensitive stuff had to be kept separate and be destroyed.  Now I've got a disc shredder which does short work of all my discs, and the shreddings can be recycled.

My biggest issues are now with cardboard and junk mail.  I try to reduce on the amount of paper waste that I generate and I reuse a lot of cardboard but I still feel that junk mail is too cheap to send out and that things come with far too much packaging.


Topic: Hardware

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  • De-stress

    and realize that the constant harping on "waste" is caused by
    people who want to make themselves feel important and
    worthwhile by guilting you such that they feel morally
    • ...

      Would you STFU already?! WE are getting sick of your anti- rhetoric. ]:)
      Linux User 147560
  • I use them

    I got a three-year-old used pc for $200 five years ago, and it's still going strong. I swapped out the hd when the old one started making noises, but that's all.

    Honestly, for anything but video editing and gaming, most people would do fine on a pc that's ten years old.
  • RE: What do you do with your old PCs?

    My 1.8GHz P4 with 1GB RAM is functioning quite nicely as a Windows Home Server box. So far it's the best backup solution I've come across. Now if only I could access the shared printers from my Powerbook...
  • Give away or recycle

    I try to give them away first by posting to Craigs List. If there are no takers then I bring them to work and put them in the recycle area.
  • Cannibalized gifts

    I pull out some parts that I want to keep (RAM strips, possibly a video card or stuff like that). Then I put together a working system, on which I install a user-friendly Linux distro with low hardware requirements (like DSL, Puppy Linux or Xubuntu). Then I give that away, to somebody who can use it.

    With the caution that I'm *not* available for computer help. Well, with a sturdy Linux box you can't come to much harm as a user, if you simply use it for ordinary tasks. :-)

    Greetz, Pjotr.
  • Where are the recycling centers at?

    I tend to keep all of my older electronics. I must have 6 or more used PCs ranging back to 286s. I couldn't imagine just tossing them. I recycle everything I can. I just recently made a trip to the local "convenience" center to drop off a car-load of recyclables.

    The problem is that I don't know of a single electronics recycling center out here (Carroll County, GA). With the sheer amount of electronics that get tossed every year, I'm surprised that they haven't provided a way to recycle them instead.

    So, I just keep hoarding the ones I'm not using for one reason or another until recycling becomes available.
    • Good for you!

      Too many people underestimate or downplay the environmental damage being done by tossing old consumer electronics into the trash. Our local recycle center just started taking computers - one day a year, by appointment only and you have to pay a small amount. It was worth it, though. I disposed of a trunk-full of dead machines, which will be recycled instead of going to the landfill, for about $12. I'd been holding on to some of them for almost 10 years.

      Some independent computer stores will take old systems and parts in on consignment, some have swap tables. If you want to save space and have a recycle center nearby that takes metal but not electronics, strip down the systems and recycle the cases - you may have to strip off the plastic front panel. Keep the boards from the machine in a box until you find a place that will recycle them.

      I've even used the steel side panels from a couple of old towers for other projects, instead of buying sheet metal.
  • It's a mix calibalize, give away, and sell.

    An old computer is kind of a variable thing. What is old to me, may be right up someone elses alley. I replaced my Pentium D computer with my new Quad Core. The pentium D computer still runs like a champ though. So, I took it, cleaned it up, re-loaded it, and sold it to a friend (for a very fair price. I have tons of old DDR (184 pin) ram, Many times if someone has an old computer than needs repair, if I I have more ram than they do, I will just toss it in theirs because it is doing no good to me to hold onto it. I am also notorious for buying old computers, and canibalizing them to build other computers. Then sell, or give them to people who really need them.
    I love playing with, building and re-building computers, it is a lot of fun for me.
    When things are broken or can't be used, I finally throw them away...
  • Put Linux On Them

    Convert the blind to see the light...awaken them from the Matrix!!!
    • Why?

      So they can sit in the corner and collect dust? :)
      Hallowed are the Ori
      • ...

        No, so the hardware can continue to provide useful function without being obsoleted by the Operating System or software. ]:)
        Linux User 147560
  • What do I do?

    If they're still in working condition, I do a clean install and donate them. If not, then I'll salvage them for parts. Btw, where I work I get first dibs on anything thrown away. :-) ;-)
    Arm A. Geddon
  • It depends...

    If it's still working I keep it. If it's not, it gets stripped down, the functional pieces get saved for repairs or builds and the rest gets set aside for recycle. Every couple of years, I go through the boxes of parts and recycle anything that's obsolete to the point of uselessness.
  • recycle my pc's and stop junk mail before getting it

    I use local recycler for getting rid of pc or put them on craigslist.org. Also with junk mail issue. My idea is to not get mail at all. So you don't have to recycle junkmail. Using http://www.stopthejunkmail.com to help me stopping not only catalogs but other mail too.
    • What to do with old PCs...

      Though I selected "Give Them Away" from the list (and it was far too short a list), I do have several machines that are gathering dust because they are either sentimental objects or are virtually worthless.

      Those falling into the "sentimental" category are my Apple II Plus and Apple IIgs "Woz Signature", along with my Toshiba Satellite 1950C (my first notebook.) The two Apples are sentimental favorites because of the thousands of hours I spent banging away on their keyboards. Toshiba-san remains with me as it contains DOS programs and files that I refer to every so often. Every once in awhile I fire it up to remind myself just how rotten Windows 3.0 was. ;)

      Falling into the "virtually worthless" category is my Mac SE/20. And no, it's not "worthless" because it's a Mac. It just never generated enough passion in me to become "sentimental". I think it runs System 6.03, but it's been so long since it was last used (1987?) that I could be wrong about that. :)

      And I still have my old BBS machine, a 486/33 tower with a massive 340Mb HDD, 64Mb RAM, a 16Kb Oak VGA adapter, and an Adaptec SCSI controller, used with the 1x Pioneer 6-disc CD changer that I still also have. It was last used in 1995.
      M.R. Kennedy
  • RE: What do you do with your old PCs?

    This is something I put together several years ago. It's slightly off topic but true. It occurred around 2000.


    Does your organization need more than one or two computers?

    Buy them! Do not ask for donated computers!

    Awhile back our church looked into starting an Information Technology Ministry including a Computer Center. "Somebody who knew somebody" managed to get a company to donate twenty computers.

    We were all thinking, "Isn't God great!"

    Well, this had nothing to do with God!

    Larger corporations know that churches, schools, charities, etc., will often ask them to donate computers or money for computers. On the one hand they want to appear to be "a good corporate neighbor". On the other hand, they don't want to incur any expense.

    What do they do?

    When they take old computers out of service, instead of spending money to have them recycled, they "shove them in the back room somewhere." When non-profit organizations ask for computers, they give them their old junk--without an operating system. The company erases the operating system because it buys non-transferrable licenses.

    Microsoft does not discount its "full-install" Windows operating systems. When we tried to use the computers we found it would cost about two hundred dollars per computer for an operating system. (Non-profits do not have the right to steal software on the grounds that "We're a non-profit organization." Taking one disk and copying it onto twenty computers would be twenty federal felonies.)

    Furthermore, the computers were several years old--their microprocessors weren't fast enough, they didn't have enough memory and their hard disks were not large enough to run current software. Upgrading them would require replacing virtually everything. The company decommissioned them because they were "beyond their useful life."

    Of course, since the company had already "generously" donated twenty computers, we couldn't expect them to pay for operating systems.

    The TRUTH is that the company had depreciated the machines over their accounting life-cycle. They had a zero dollar value "on the books". Instead of PAYING someone to cart them off and recycle them, they got a church to cart them off for free.

    (And for all those folks who are going to say, "Install Linux!", forget it. Non-profits generally have no IT staff and IT folks learn quickly not to volunteer.)
    • ...

      "[B](And for all those folks who are going to say, "Install Linux!", forget it. Non-profits generally have no IT staff and IT folks learn quickly not to volunteer.)[/B]"

      Then maybe it's time people start getting off their a$$es and stop expecting everything for free and invest a little bit of time. They grow and the non-profit benefits. Greed, the biggest good will killer around. ]:)
      Linux User 147560
    • 2000 is not 2008

      Your position was understandable given that an old
      computer in 2000 was circa 1995 era. Today an old
      computer is circa 2003...vastly more capable.

      My company has > 50 Dell GX240 computers sitting in the
      recycle area right now. All have a minimum of 1.5GHz
      Pentium IV processor, 1GB RAM, 40GB HD, and have a
      Windows 2000 Professional COA right on the top of the

      These systems would make decent non-profit computers.
      Plenty quick for most office work and, with the OEM COA
      attached, all legally licensed for Windows 2000
      Professional (since an OEM license cannot be transferred).

      I also seem to recall having read something about
      Microsoft making software available at no/low cost to
      non-profits. But I may be in error on this point.
      • If I had those machines...

        ... I would assemble them in a rack based cluster and dedicate them to the World Community Grid. *Sigh*

        In all seriousness, I'm trying to assemble a cluster of medium power, barebones systems to dedicate to grid computing on the WCG - distributing computing being used for medical and scientific research. The machines you've described would be ideal.