What to Do Before Selling a Computer by@zacamos

What to Do Before Selling a Computer

If you're planning to sell your used computer, you need to prepare it first — both to ensure your security and privacy and to make the fastest and highest sale possible. To prepare, research the reselling market to estimate your computer's price; back up all personal files; sign out of all accounts; erase the hard drive; clean the outside of your computer; and find a resale service.
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Zac Amos

Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers cybersecurity, AI and more.


Most people have electronic junk drawers where their outdated smartphones and computers pile up. The digital era is creating new material recycling challenges, and limited access to electronic waste (e-waste) processing systems and recycling leads to hoarding old devices.


Individuals can take recycling measures into their own hands by selling their old electronics. However, it’s vital to clear hard drives and clean externals. People can receive competitive offers for their used computers by following essential sale preparation steps.

Why Are Consumers Selling Their Computers?

More consumers are selling their old computers than ever before. They stopped throwing away their old electronics to minimize e-waste, protecting the global ecosystem in the process.


The U.S. generates nearly 800 laptops worth of e-waste every second. This creates toxic pollution, which travels to the oceans through stormwater runoff. Individuals can protect marine ecosystems by reselling their laptops instead of sending them to landfills.


Consumers are also selling their used computers to upgrade their home offices. More employees have engaged in remote work since the COVID-19 lockdown and are replacing their laptops with desktops.


Other people sell their old computers to gain extra income. They can spend a portion of their profits on purchasing an upgraded device.


Ultimately, selling used computers is an environmentally and economically responsible decision.

Why Is Computer Sale Preparation so Important?

People can prepare their used computers for resale to increase their profits. Proper preparation techniques may help owners protect their personal information and reduce e-waste. Individuals who fail to clear their computers’ hard drives before reselling increase their susceptibility to hackers.


Criminals are advancing hacking and theft techniques to acquire credit card information, addresses, and Social Security numbers. It’s vital to clear personal information from computers to stay safe.


Computer sale preparation may also reduce the time a device spends on the market. Individuals can increase their chances of selling an item by optimizing its efficiency and operations. Resetting a used computer and deleting unnecessary features can improve its processing speeds.


Improving a computer’s functions and aesthetic can also lead to a quick sale. There are six computer sale preparation techniques helping individuals reduce e-waste and make the most money from their old electronics.


1. Estimate the Computer’s Price


The first step to take before selling a used computer is to estimate its market price. Individuals can acquire estimates using online price range tools, which are easy to use and provide a realistic range of potential offers.


People may also calculate their computers’ price ranges by accessing manufacturing information. This can help owners determine how and when companies produced a device. Consumers can then compare their prices to similar products on the market.


Computer owners can use their findings to identify which offers are competitive. Estimating prices is an essential step for individuals selling their electronics independently. They can avoid getting burned on reselling websites by determining their computers' potential cost.


Typically, MacBooks will sell at a higher price than a Windows computer. macOS holds only 16% of the operating system market, compared to Windows’ 76%, making the demand for a Mac higher. However, this is just a general rule and does not take into consideration a computer’s age, quality and countless other factors.


2. Back up Personal Files


It’s vital to back up personal files. Most modern laptops and desktops allow users to upload their files to the cloud. Individuals can ensure everything is there before wiping data from their hard drives.


Older computers may require an external hard drive to secure important data. Individuals can purchase them at tech stores and copy essential files directly onto their hard drives.


People can also set up automatic file backup systems to increase a computer’s security. Windows and Mac products have auto-backup features, which frequently create copies of folders and files. Individuals should ensure their backup settings are active to secure their data before wiping the internal hard drive clear.


3. Sign Out of All Accounts


Computer owners should also sign out of all their accounts. People can use many computer additives, and they often forget to sign out of their Microsoft accounts before selling their computers.


Consumers can access previous owners’ personal information through Microsoft accounts. They may also gain access to Microsoft amenities, which previous owners may pay for.


Individuals can protect their sensitive information by signing out of all their banking, social media, communication, and other sites.


4. Erase the Hard Drive


People can clear their computers’ internal hard drives by connecting their devices to a Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) system. They may do so using USB cords.


Individuals can restart their devices once they connect to DBANs. Computers will display a boot prompt after the reboot, and users should type “autonuke” to stimulate a complete hard drive wipe. Clearing a hard drive can eliminate the next user’s access to important information.


5. Clean the Computer’s External Components


Another thing to do before selling a computer is clean its external components. Individuals should place their electronics back on the market in the condition they received them. They can improve their computers’ aesthetic by cleaning the keyboard, screen, speakers, and vents using low-impact materials.


People should power down their electronics before cleaning to eliminate safety hazards. They can use lint-free cloths to remove dust from a computer’s surface and clean keyboards by flipping them upside down and shaking out debris.


They can also use certified computer vacuums to suck dust out of speakers and vents. Keeping a computer’s fan clean can improve its general efficiency.


6. Find a Resale Service


The final step before reselling a computer is finding a reliable resale service. There are many online companies helping individuals connect with potential buyers. Computer owners should determine how much a website takes from a sale to optimize their profitability.


They may also use independent sales platforms to receive 100% of the profits. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay connect resellers with buyers. Individuals can also resell or trade their old computers through the original manufacturer.

What to Expect When Selling a Computer

People can make the most of their used computer sales by effectively preparing. Resellers should also ensure safety precautions are taken while independently exchanging used electronics by meeting in public locations. They may also consider shipping their items instead of meeting buyers in person.


Manufacturers may offer owners less for their used computers than independent consumers. Individuals can determine the price gap before reaching out to manufacturers to remain prepared. Sellers should explore multiple offers before finding the best buyer and making the most profit they can.


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by Zac Amos @zacamos.Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers cybersecurity, AI and more.
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