HOW TO DONATE AN OLD COMPUTER

Congratulations, you have a new computer. Don’t want to keep your old computer. Not sure what to do with it? I may be able to help.

REFURBISH

Many people are tempted to donate their old equipment to a local school or charity. That’s great if you know for sure that the school or charity will take your equipment.  Some organizations have very specific technology needs. Your computer may not be a good fit for their needs even at the great price of free. A refurbisher will make sure that the equipment runs well and has legal software installed. They will pass on the computer to those who need it, often at little or no cost to the recipient. You should be able to find refurbishers in your area by using the Microsoft Registered Refurbishers directory.

Refurbishers typically work with newer equipment that can run current software programs. Therefore, if your computer is more than five years old, it’s probably better to give it to a recycler.

 

RECYCLE

Any equipment that does not work or is more than five years old should go to a recycler. A computer recycler will salvage any useful parts before breaking down what’s left, and safely remove hazardous materials in the process. I know this does not make sense (especially when you are giving away equipment), but some recyclers will charge a fee to accept old computer equipment, especially monitors.

Check out Earth911 or Dell-Goodwill Reconnect for a list of recycling drop-off locations in your area.

 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Before you load up the car and head down to the refurbisher or recycler, give them a call or check their website. You do not want to find out AFTER you get there that they do not take the type of equipment you have.

 

DON’T FORGET ALL OF THE EXTRAS

If you can, include with your computer the mouse, keyboard, printer, software and any other accessories that came with it that you no longer want.

 

NEVER DONATE A COMPUTER BEFORE WIPING THE HARD DRIVE.

The staff at the recycling or refurbishing place may be very nice people, but you don’t know them or know where your computer may end up. If a stranger came to your house, knocked on your door and asked for your personal information, would you give it to him? Handing over your computer without wiping the hard drive is basically the same thing. The best way to protect against any unauthorized use of personal information is to use a disk-cleaning tool that COMPLETELY erases all data on the hard drive.

Below are examples of disk-cleaning utilities that should get the job done.

Active@ Kill Disk Hard Drive Eraser

Darik’s Boot and Nuke

 

KEEP A LIST OF WHAT YOU DONATED

Who knows, you may be eligible for a tax deduction for the equipment you donated. Your tax preparer and the IRS will want proof. Go to Section 170 of the Federal Income Tax Code for more information on tax laws related to computer donation.

 

Enjoy Your New Computer,

 

John L. Jones

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