What to do with old laptops that don’t work

The technology and raw materials contained within laptops makes them valuable even when they no longer work. Many parts can be repurposed, the entire laptop may be restorable or the materials could be melted down and reused through the laptop recycling process.

Understanding the various options available to you when it comes to disposing of your old laptop can help you make a smart decision, and maybe even earn some cash. Below, we explore what you can do with old laptops that don’t work and what to do before you get rid of your old device for good.

Disposal options

When disposing of an old laptop, you have three main options:

Recycle it: Recycling is one way to get rid of your laptop quickly and easily. It also benefits the environment tremendously because laptops that are unethically disposed of release harmful agents into the environment. These deadly materials, like mercury, devastate plant and animal habitats that surround landfills and they can also end up back in our bodies through the food and water we consume.

Donate it: If there’s an underfunded youth club near you or a school that you think might benefit from your old laptop, consider donating it to them. You can also donate to organisations such as this one, who refurbish old computers and send them to developing countries. This option is great for people who want to dispose of their old laptop while giving something back to the community.

Sell it: If your laptop still works, you can list it on sites like Ebay. You can even replace some faulty parts if it’s just a case of a broken battery. If your laptop is too damaged to be listed as a working laptop, you can break it down and sell it for parts. Another option is to sell to us, as we buy computers in any condition.

How to protect your data before you dispose of your old laptop

Before you dispose of your old device, don’t forget to back it up. Here’s how for both Windows and Mac:

Backup for Windows

  1. Select the start button
  2. Navigate to the control panel
  3. Select system and maintenance
  4. Select backup and restore

Backup for Mac

Here’s how to back up using Time Machine:

  1. Click Apple menu, open System Preferences and then click Time Machine.
  2. Click Select Backup Disc.
  3. Select the external hard drive you connected. (You can also encrypt backups.)

Once connected, Time Machine will automatically make periodic backups.

When using iCloud to backup an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the process is as follows:

  1. Update all your Apple devices to their latest software.
  2. Setup iCloud on all devices.
  3. Ensure the same Apple ID is used across all devices.
  4. Go to Settings and click your name.
  5. Click iCloud.
  6. Turn on iCloud drive.

When using a Mac, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Go to Apple menu, click System Preferences, click Apple ID.
  2. Select iCloud.
  3. If prompted, sign in with your Apple ID.
  4. Select iCloud drive and turn it on.

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