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What Do I Do With This Old Laptop?

Did someone give you a new laptop for Valentine ’s Day?? Maybe you simply bought yourself a treat. Either way, a fresh laptop is satisfying and exciting to tech geeks (yes, you!). After you’re up and running on the new machine, you remember that your old laptop is still sitting on your desk. You can’t throw it in the trash, but you can’t just leave it taking up space in your office. We’ve got a few options for you!

As IT people, we get technology upgrades more often than the average consumer, and I love giving my old hardware to family members or friends in need of an upgrade. The laptop I view as ancient with only 4GB of RAM and a 512GB hard drive is brand new technology to my grandmother! Plus, dropping off a laptop and helping with basic setup scores fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. If you don’t have friends or family in need of the old technology, check with a local foundation to see if the machine can be donated to help someone you don’t know. There are also national foundations like the National Cristina Foundation that will take your old machine and donate for you.

If the machine is truly ancient and of no use to anyone, you can recycle it. Every Best Buy I’ve been to has a recycling program. Simply walk in with the old laptop and a staff member will help you safely dispose of the old machine for free. This website also provides information on where you can recycle your machine in your state.

If the machine is fairly new and none of the above options appeal, you can always sell the old device to help offset the cost of the new one. Gazelle buys back all kinds of old devices for a decent amount of money, and buyers on eBay and Craigslist will help you make a profit on that old laptop.

But before you give that old laptop to a family member or post it on your local Facebook marketplace, REMOVE ALL OF YOUR DATA. There are hundreds of tutorials on clearing data off an old device. Here’s a great one that includes instructions on backing up your data and then clearing it. Once you follow these steps and have a freshly scrubbed machine, you’re free to move ahead with any of the options above and know that no matter which method you choose, you made a safe and smart decision!



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