It is widely known that PCs don’t stand the test of time, especially with the fast growth of technology. There is only so much you can upgrade on a PC before reaching the point where buying an entirely new one is more cost effective. So, when replacing a PC, what are the proper methods of disposing or reusing the old device?
There are numerous ways to recycle, reuse, or safely dispose of your aging or defective computers; choosing the right one depends on the cost/function of the equipment, size/financial status of your business, and the type of private data that could still be on them.
- Backup Device: If the computer is in working condition and was merely replaced due to the performance increase of a newer model, it might be an excellent idea to save the old PC as a backup. Every great IT department has a backup for every device they manage; while these backup devices might not be reactivated for long, they will suffice while you order the newer, replacement device.
- Backup Parts: If the whole PC may not be used again in the future, take that baby apart to see what goodies you can utilize in future builds or part replacements. Make a list of all parts you deem worthy of keeping and then organize and store them for later service.
- Donation: Old computers and devices can be of great help to those less fortunate, charitable non-profits, and our youth. There are several methods one can choose to donate their electronics, just ensure that you either fully erase (or better yet, remove) any data stored.
- Recycle: By bringing your old equipment to an IT asset disposition company, you can ensure that your critical information on the devices isn’t stolen, lost, or tampered with in any way, as well as help the environment by properly disposing of potentially hazardous e-waste; this is an excellent option for larger companies dealing with sensitive data. Many businesses will often have a contract set up with one of these IT asset recycling companies, which will pick up the equipment, properly erase data, and dispose of everything properly.
- Personal Project: By far, my favorite option. While you need to follow the company guidelines regarding keeping their property, as well as data regulations, feel free to ask your superior if you can keep that old server; you never know when a home lab or cryptomining rig will come in handy!
- Dedicate it to Distributed Computing: Distributed Computing, or the process of using a system whose components are located on different networked computers, is a popular method of allocating your old PC to have its unused computer power to be sourced for making the world a better place. Folding@home is an excellent example of distributed computing, as they use your old PC to further advance disease research.
- Secondary Computing Server: If you run data-intensive programs or create content, having a separate PC to aid distributed rendering chores can be a game changer. By installing a lightweight application on your secondary rendering computer, it will then take commands from the first PC. For example, if you primarily used a laptop at home, you can have a secondary desktop computer handle the bulk of the workload.
- Sell: While your old computer might not be attractive to you anymore, it can be just what someone on eBay or another site is looking for. Note: Always be wary of scammers, delete and remove your data, and ensure that if you are selling the PCs for your company, they receive the money. More often than not, I see the money earned from selling old business equipment used for employee functions; what better way to celebrate getting new PCs than with a pizza party!