Every so often, people will end up buying new computers which will obviously render their old ones obsolete.

Although we’d like to think that we could keep using our computers for many years without issue, the truth is computers eventually ‘slow down’ because of resource demands from new operating systems and software packages.

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One question that is often raised is, what do we do with our old computers? One answer which helps to clear the space occupied by the old computer and which raises money at the same time is to sell it. We might sell the computer to a friend or family member, or, as is often the case, we’ll just put it up for sale on eBay.

Is there anything we need to do to our computers before we do sell them? The answer to that question is ‘yes’, but don’t worry because you don’t have to do anything complicated or time-consuming to prepare your computer for sale! Here is a handy guide that walks you through what’s needed.

Give your computer a clean

Nobody wants to buy a desktop PC or laptop that is covered in smudge marks, dust, remnants of food and so on. The first thing you will need to do is give your computer a clean so that it is in a presentable, as-new condition ready for your buyer to use.

With desktop PCs, you should carefully open up the side of the case by undoing the screws at the back of the unit. The side panel you need to remove is usually the left-hand side one (as you look at the front of the PC).

You will need to get yourself a non-flammable air duster (preferably an invertible one) and a vacuum cleaner. It is important that when you use the vacuum cleaner, you don’t let the brush or nozzle at the end of it touch any of the components inside of the PC.

Simply spray short bursts from the air duster on any areas covered with dust whilst you hold the vacuum cleaner brush or nozzle nearby to suck up any dust lifted by the air duster.

Give your keyboard and monitor a clean

For laptops, you don’t need to open them up but you can still use the air duster and vacuum cleaner to remove any food remnants from the keyboard; do this also for any PC keyboard that you are selling too.

Any screens should be cleaned with special monitor cleaning wipes, but you can also use sprays and microfibre cloths too.

Remove any personal data from the hard drive

Before you go ahead and do a factory reinstall of the operating system and software, you should make a backup of your personal data from the hard drive.

Once this has been done, it is advisable to wipe your hard drive using software that is run from a bootable disc; alternatively, you could employ the services of a secure data destruction to do this for you if you’re not confident about doing it yourself.

Now that your hard drive has been successfully wiped, and you are sure that no-one will be able to restore any files that were on there, you can do a factory reinstall of the operating system and software.