What to Do with An Old Computer?

If you don’t have a great idea for what to do with an old computer, read this post, you’ll know how to clean all privacy and recycle your old computers.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Old PC

When your PC is unable to meet your needs, you'll need to replace an old computer with a brand-new one. Then, what to do with an old computer? If it's still functional, tossing it out isn't the greatest decision. In fact, you don't have to throw it in the rubbish in a hurry, recycle it properly, it can still be your great partner to help you in your life.

If that old computer still has some hope to be saved, you can upgrade the RAM or hard disk, and change new hardware for it, but you’ll cost a lot. If that old PC is now totally not worth spending much money to upgrade, it’s better to switch thoughts to change it and make it serve your life again.

How to get rid of old computers?

If you decide to recycle old computers, the first thing to do is to transfer all your important data to a new storage location.

Section 1. Back up your disk/system

There must have important data you want to keep on your old computer. And some users may even want to use the familiar Windows system and keep all old data on the new computer. In this case, the best choice is to clone your disk or OS. This can avoid reinstalling the Windows system and all your programs. You will have the complete same system and Windows environment on your new PC.

To keep your old system and run it on your new PC, a reliable cloning tool is necessary. Here, you can turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional because this tool provides 2 backup plans and support Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP systems for different users.

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Migrate OS to SSD: This function is for users who wish only to keep a familiar Windows system. You can transfer only the old system to another disk and boot it on the target computer.

Disk Clone Wizard: This feature is specifically designed for people who want to create an exact duplicate disk on the new PC. After the clone, you can boot the target computer and enjoy your old system and all your programs without reinstalling anything.

Here, we’ll show you how to back up the entire system disk.

Step 1. Download this computer operating system clone software, then install and open it. In the operation bar, in “Clone”, select “Clone Disk”.

Disk Clone Wizard

Step 2. Here, choose a suitable method based on the differences mentioned above.

Clone methods

“Clone Disk Quickly” only copies the used sectors to the destination location, allowing the target disk smaller than the total size of the source disk.
Sector-by-Sector Clone” will copy all sectors to the target disk, so the destination disk must be equal to or larger than the source disk.

Step 3. Select the Windows system disk as the source disk and hit on “Next”.

Select source disk

Step 4. Then select the SSD drive as the destination disk and click “Next”.

Select target disk

Step 5. Now, you can also resize partition just being created on the disk.


Step 6. Read the subsequent boot note, click “Finish” and then click “Apply” to execute the pending operation.


Section 2. Clear personal data from old computer

After you back up all your data safely, now it’s time to clear all data from your computer, especially if you want to sell your old computer or the old hard disks. In this section, we’ll show you how to factory reset your computer and how to erase data permanently via a data-wiping tool to protect your privacy from recovery.

Way 1. Factory reset your old PC

Step 1. In Windows 10 computer, navigate to “Start” > “Settings” > “Update and Security” >” Recovery”.

Step 2. Then, you’ll be in the Recovery Settings window. Click “Get Started” under “Reset this PC”.


Step 3. Choose “Remove everything” to remove all of your personal files, apps, and settings.

Step 4. Then, confirm the operation and click “Reset” to start it. Wait patiently for the operation that may last 30 minutes to several hours to complete.

▶ Note: If your PC is stuck on loading, you won’t be able to factory reset your computer via the steps above. At this time, you can insert the installation disc into the computer, boot from the disc, and then go to “Repair your computer” > “Troubleshoot” > “Reset This PC” > “Remove everything” to reset your PC.

Way 2. Completely wipe your hard disk

For users who want to sell the old computer, if you are concerned that your personal information will be retrieved using professional data recovery software, you can completely wipe the hard disk to make the data more difficult to recover.

AOMEI Partition Assistant provides 4 wiping methods: fill sectors with zero, random data, DoD 5220.22-M, and Gutmann. Most software-based recovery programs may be avoided using the first two approaches. DoD 5220.22-M and Guttmann take longer to deploy and are more secure since the two wiping methods erase a hard drive more thoroughly with 7 and 35 passes, respectively.

Now, we’ll show how to completely wipe data from a system HDD, if you need to erase an SSD, please check: SSD secure erase.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Locate the computer hard drive, right-click it and choose “Wipe Hard Drive”.

Wipe system disk

Step 2. Choose the wiping method and click “OK”.

Wipe method

Step 3. Now, you can preview the operation result so that all things will be removed from the hard drive. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to execute the operation.


Since the operation involves system partition, you need to choose to Restart your PC to enter WinPE or PreOS Mode. If it’s a data disk, you can directly remove it after the erasing.

What to do with an old computer?

After you’ve safely transferred and cleared your hard disk, now, let’s see what to do with an old computer or an old laptop.

First, if your old computer has 2.5-inch disks, then after you wipe the data, you can format it into exFAT to reuse it on your PS4; if you have an Xbox One, you’ll need to format it into the NTFS file system. If the old computer uses an M.2 disk, you can format it into exFAT to use that disk on your PS5. And if the disk on your old PC can be used on your new PC, you can also set a disk combo on your new PC. 

Then, about your computer, we’ll offer you some ideas to make your computer continue to serve your work and life.

1. Use an old PC as a NAS or Home Server

NAS (Network-attached storage) is a device that is connected to a network and has data storage capabilities, so it is also called "network storage". It is a dedicated data storage server. It is data-centric, completely separating the storage device from the server and centralizing data management, thus freeing up bandwidth and improving performance.

NAS server

As a special type of dedicated data storage server, it includes storage devices (such as disk arrays, CD/DVD drives, tape drives, or removable storage media) and embedded system software. It can provide cross-platform file-sharing capabilities, usually occupying its own node on a LAN, without the intervention of an application server, allowing users to access data on the network.

The NAS is for users who need to transfer file data to multiple clients over a network. The device works well in environments where data must be transferred over long distances, and where different hosts and clients access data on the NAS via file-sharing protocols for file-sharing functions.

2. Build a home security system on your old PC

Home security system

Nowadays, a home security system is a must-have item. To install a video surveillance system in your house, you'll need to spend some money on professional assistance. If you don't have enough protection or money to establish a home security system, a laptop with an integrated camera may be utilized as a surveillance camera. There are no video cameras incorporated into desktop computers, so we must either purchase a new video camera or use an old webcam that we no longer need.

Then, find computer-based surveillance software that allows anybody with a camera to set up a reliable and low-cost surveillance system. When you attach a camera to your PC through USB or FireWire, the camera monitor program detects it instantly.

You may position the cameras in the exact areas that you want to watch, verify the camera view to avoid camera overlapping in the same region, and reduce the number of blind spots by positioning the cameras appropriately.

3. Make old PC a garage or hobby computer

Old PCs may be terrific friends in ways that a new machine would never be. An old ThinkPad used in the garage is a wonderful example. It might be useful for keeping track of to-do lists and tracking the development of a garden or other messy undertakings.

People would never utilize a brand-new computer for such tasks. Because many outdated PCs are no longer useful for many jobs, you shouldn't feel terrible about exposing them to more abuse.

Despite their limitations, most vintage PCs can access websites, document editing programs, and streaming video.

4. Create a personal media center with old PC

A theatre program such as Kodi will transform your outdated PC into your personal media center. Install the server software on any device that supports Linux, Windows, macOS, jailbroken iOS devices, rooted Android devices, or even a Raspberry Pi; there are "remote control" programs available for iOS and Android users who don't want to go for broken.

To achieve a better performance, you can run the server software on an old PC with a fresh OS install and dedicate the system only to media playback.


To sum up

Of course you can also donate your old computer or give it to another. But if you want to recycle an old computer but don’t know what to do with an old computer, hope this post can help you.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a handy tool for Windows users, besides the features we’ve mentioned, you can also use it to convert a disk to MBR/GPT without deleting partitions, transfer installed apps to another drive/disk without reinstalling, and so on.

What’s more, it has the Server Edition for Windows 2022/2019/2016/2012(R2)/2008(R2)/2003 users to securely and easily manage the Server computers.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.