The average lifespan of an office computer is three to five years.  How long the computer is actually useful will be determined by the end user and how many advanced programs they use.  Ultimately it is usually a function of the amount of memory and the CPU speed.  At some point on this spectrum, you will be replacing your computers, but what do you with the old outmoded ones?

Before you decide what to do with them, first safeguard the data.  You likely have years of email, customer information, process documents and possibly accounting records, this personal data is a treasure trove for cyber criminals.  No matter how you choose to dispose of your system, you will want to make sure your data can’t be read.  There are methods for deleting the data and overwriting the disk, but the best method to ensure your data’s protection is to remove the hard drive and destroy it.  Once you have the hard drive out of the chassis, drill several holes in the drive.

If you choose to donate your computer you can check with local shelters, retirement homes, libraries, churches or schools.  That old system of yours will probably be welcomed as an upgrade to what they are currently using.  Replace the destroyed drive with a new SSD from your local computer store, reload the operating systems and they will likely get another three to five years out of it!

Should you prefer to dispose of your old computer, please don’t throw it in the trash.  The system boards contain lead, mercury and other toxins that will be released into the environment if thrown in a landfill.  Check with your local recycling center to find out when they accept electronic waste.  You can also check with Beyond Surplus, who offers free pickup for local businesses (

Whether you are disposing of your old systems or need to set a new one up, Forward Systems is here to help you.  Forward Systems is a Managed IT company supporting all of your resources, if you have servers or desktops, local or in the cloud, our engineers provide superior IT service!  Find us at or (770) 217-4566.