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Tips for Decommissioning Old Computer Equipment

Old ServerIt’s common to see old equipment stacked haphazardly in the server room or occasionally a dead PC or monitor in the far corner of a conference room. You’ve just gone through spring cleaning and tax time, but you may not know how to get rid of that old bone pile.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Don’t throw it away. Batteries and computer monitors must be properly disposed to avoid health and environmental risks.
  2. Dispose to avoid risk. That old junk is either a fire hazard, safety threat, or contains menacing information a thief or competitor can use against you.
  3. Wipe the drives. For workstations, use DBAN to wipe the drive instead of simply formatting. For servers with RAID, use the RAID firmware to format the drives and destroy the RAID configuration. Another precaution is then physically changing the order of the drives to thwart a rebuild of the RAID container.
  4. Better yet destroy the drives. Since wiping a drive still leaves a limited potential for some retrieval of data, it’s often better to pull the drives and destroy them. Pierce with a drill, smash with a hammer, dunk in water, drop from the roof, or give to the kids to dismantle. Be safe and throw away any debris.
  5. Donate. The most you can generally claim for value is approximately 7% of what the equipment was new, but it is a tax-deductible charitable donation and most charities will pickup for free:
  6. Recycle. Generally, it is not free and often you pay per the pound. If you’re located in or service Oklahoma, we need more organizations to add to this list.

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