We receive a lot of questions regarding old computers and laptops but the most frequent is, “what should I do with my old laptop computer?”
Costs of laptops and desktops have plummeted as tablets and phones have become more powerful. We frequently see customers go out and get new laptops and computers way sooner than they
actually need to because of these low prices. The need for the latest and greatest technology, or impatience for slowness, and sometimes the lack of understanding of how to fix the problem, creates piles of old computer equipment that lay around the house. So customers are asking, “what should I do with my old laptop?”
Here are a few questions we normally ask to find out more about your old equipment.
- What is the make and model? (this can easily be found on the lcd screen bezel or even the sticker on the bottom of the laptop.)
- How old is the laptop?
- What is the current operating system?(Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10?)
- Why did you stop using it?
- Can you find a purpose for it?
After hearing the answers to those questions, our response is almost always the same; “breathe new life into it!” If your old laptop is running Microsoft Vista or newer, it’s well worth the money to find a purpose for it and then refurbish it for use. If your laptop is running Windows XP, you might not want to bother with it; however, this depends on you.
What’s the Purpose?
First, find a purpose for the old laptop or desktop computer. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Donate it to someone.
- Sell it.
- Let the kids use it.
- Use it for road trips or while working in the garage.
- Use it for surfing the internet and/or streaming media anywhere.
- Strip it for parts.
- Get creative and turn it into something useful.
If there is no purpose and you just want to throw it away or recycle it, then be sure to remove the hard drive first. Leaving the hard drive in the computer you are about to recycle leaves your personal data vulnerable even if you think you did a good job erasing it all. We can manage this for you. Simply drop off the computer at any of our drop off locations and we’ll securely destroy the information, and then donate/recycle/dispose of computer for you at no cost.
Moving on, let’s say you want to repurpose it, give it to a friend, or just want to start using it again. Here are the upgrades worth investing in to breathe new life into that old laptop.
First, let’s talk about the hard drive. Hard drives typically last 5 years and then they start slowing down and/or failing. Replacing your old hard drive is an absolute must if you want to speed up your old laptop. Go solid state. Solid State hard drives typically range from $60-$175 depending on how much storage you actually need and want on your old laptop. Keep in mind this old laptop is being repurposed and you won’t likely need a whole lot of storage space unless you are going to turn it into a media server. Go with a Samsung Evo 850 250GB or higher. If you know you will not put any personal data on it, you might want to go even cheaper with a 120GB Solid State drive. A hard drive upgrade will be the single greatest upgrade for your old laptop. You should see a 40% – 70% increase in performance compared to when the laptop was brand new. Boot up should take a matter of seconds and you will see positive and instant results. It may even have you questioning, “did I need to buy a new laptop in the first place?”
Many agree that Microsoft seems to release Windows operating systems in a good-then-bad-then-good again pattern. For example:
Windows 98 = Good
Windows Millennium (ME) = Bad
Windows XP = Good
Vista = Bad
Windows 7 = Good
Windows 8 = Bad
Windows 10 = Good
Now, even though we think Microsoft Vista is old and terrible, we don’t believe it is as bad as it used to be. Vista has gotten much better over the years. Vista will be just fine for web surfing, streaming, and general typing applications, etc. For a backup machine or a repurposed laptop, save money and keep Vista. Vista will do what you need it to do and it will save you a little extra money without having to buy a Windows 7 or higher. If you really want to do it right then do yourself and the world a favor and help end the life of Microsoft Vista. Order a legit copy of Windows 7 and then attempt to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. This can be done for ~$130.
Once you install Windows 7 with the new media and license key on the new solid state hard drive, be sure to run all Windows 7 updates and then try to run the Windows 10 upgrade. The upgrade process will tell you right away if your old hardware is compatible with Window 10 or not. If not, at least you are at Windows 7. If so, then great, you just upgraded to Windows 10.
Keep in mind, all operating systems have an end of life date assigned. End of life means Microsoft will no longer support your operating system by releasing security hole patches. See chart below, Vista is supported until April 2017; however, it is possible they could extend a year or 2. My guess is Microsoft won’t extend because they know how terrible Vista was and not many businesses adopted it.
Memory & Misc
If you have less than 4GB of RAM, then we recommend upgrading your memory to a minimum of 4GB. Try to order and install the max amount of RAM your motherboard will handle for the best experience. If you have 2GB of RAM, don’t let it stop you from refurbishing the laptop; your hard drive will make the most difference and 2GB of memory will be fine.
Laptop batteries typically last 2-3 years and are ~$40. Why not order and replace this if your current battery is not keeping a good charge?
What will you do with your old laptop?