What To Do With A Laptop That No Longer Works? (18 Ideas)

9 min read

Laptops are quite practical devices that help in the routine of many people. However, when its life span is over, you may be wondering what kind of use you can give to it. For this reason, we explain what to do with a laptop that no longer works.

If preparing a laptop is not possible, you can use its parts as spares, sell the components that are in good condition, or even donate them. In addition, there are secondary and even decorative uses that can be given to an old laptop.

In this article, we will give you some ideas so you do not have to throw your damaged or old laptop away. There is always something that can be done, even when the laptop has already stopped working.

What can you do with a laptop that no longer works?

First of all, you have to define what you mean by the fact that the laptop is no longer useful. It is possible that it is completely damaged and that it does not even turn on, or on the other hand that it is already too obsolete to be able to work with current applications.

In either case, the laptop is useless, at least not for the tasks you require it to perform.

What to do with a damaged laptop?

When the laptop has broken down, there are people who think of buying a new one and getting rid of the old one. This is not always recommended, especially if the computer still meets the standards of current generations.

Therefore, you can attempt the following:

1. Repair the laptop

The first option, and the most recommended of all, is to find a way to repair the laptop, especially if it is relatively new. Keep in mind that a damaged laptop does not mean that it is unusable forever, nor does it mean that it is going to be obsolete.

Sometimes a laptop stops working because of a minor glitch that is pretty easy to fix. Therefore, it is a good idea to seek help from a computer technician.

Now, there are times when the repair is almost as expensive as buying a new laptop, so it would not be very appropriate to spend that money. If so, there are other quite effective alternatives.

2. Sell the components

It is highly unlikely that all parts of your laptop will be damaged at the same time. As we have said before, breakdowns are almost always due to a particular failure, so the rest of the components will still be in good condition, and therefore can be sold.

You have the option to sell these components online, to someone you know, or to a computer repair store. For example, if the CPU has been damaged, you can sell the RAM, the hard drive, and even the screen.

3. Reuse the components

When a laptop stops working, the part that is most reused is the hard drive. The vast majority of computers could benefit from more storage capacity, and for this reason, many take advantage of the HDD or SDD that are still functional from laptops that have been damaged.

The great thing about these components is that they are compatible with any computer, unlike other laptop parts. They all connect to a motherboard in the same way, whether it is from a laptop or a desktop PC.

4. Rebuild with other parts

If you have more than one laptop that has been damaged, you can use several of the collected parts to rebuild a new computer. On the other hand, it is also possible to buy refurbished parts from a computer component supplier to repair your laptop and extend its life for a few more years.

5. Turn it into a makeshift hybrid

Don’t you know that a conventional laptop can be turned into a tablet by third-party modifiers? Yes, that is possible with enough technological skills either from you or from experienced modifiers. Although, don’t expect that it would look exactly like a tablet or 2-in-1 hybrid sold in the market.

It could be configured differently, but the hybridity function would still be there after modification. And most tablets do not require high-performing specs, so your old laptop can just suffice to be a makeshift tablet or 2-in-1 depending on how you wish to still maximize the potentiality of the device’s usage despite it no longer being usable in the conventional sense.

What to do with an old and obsolete laptop?

Laptops that are too old are not very useful these days either, so again there are people who choose to get rid of them. However, while they no longer serve the basic tasks or demands of recent generations, there are some great ideas that will serve you well.

1. Turn the laptop into a Chromebook

Chromebooks are quite popular laptops on the market because they are light, cheap, and do not require much hardware. You can transform your old laptop into a Chromebook, using programs that allow you to install Chrome OS.

In this way, you will be able to use Google services, even on a computer that is already somewhat outdated.

2. Use it for a surveillance system

Another very interesting option is to use the laptop as a virtual window to manage, organize and control a security system, such as surveillance cameras. Surveillance software is generally quite light and does not have high requirements on the hardware level.

3. Play retro video games

There are thousands of classic titles that can be run on virtually any computer from this millennium. We are talking about retro games, which can be emulated through multiple programs.

Instead of getting rid of your laptop, if you like classic video games, nothing better than running them on your laptop and putting it to fun use.

4. Wi-Fi access point

This is one of the most practical alternatives of all, and also one of the most common. A laptop has the ability to amplify the internet signal, and even free up Wi-Fi without the need for a physical router. You just have to place the laptop in a strategic area inside the house and set the necessary settings.

5. As picture frames

There are two ways to use laptops as photo frames. First of all, as an image player, in which you only have to put together a presentation with photos and place the laptop on a well-decorated table.

And in case the laptop has been damaged completely, you can reuse the display frame to create an ordinary photo frame.

6. Media playing device or a hideaway media centre

Instead of buying media players like blue-ray (unless you want to exclusively use blue-ray discs), a DVD player for kids, or a TV, why not just use your old laptop to play Media like videos or movies? Playing videos and movies does not require high-performing specs.

Although, using Netflix with older laptops that are already low performing in today’s standards may not be ideal as the Netflix website itself may demand more RAM or a better GPU.

7. Recycle its hardware components to newer laptops

In our experience, we had a mid-range laptop that was already 5 years old back then. It would be considered old and obsolete for some users who want the latest mid-range laptop. Also, this laptop’s HDD was damaged due to a fall.

But, we also had another laptop, aside from being a little bit older, which was heavily damaged and became unusable. But this second laptop’s HDD was still working in perfect condition, as well as its RAM. So we used this HDD to replace the first laptop’s HDD and then added the RAM from the second laptop to the first laptop on top of its original RAM.

Now, the first laptop mentioned here is already 10 years old and still working in good condition for common office tasks albeit with some slowdowns from time to time which do not happen frequently.

8. Replace old hardware with new and improved ones

Like the example stated on no. 7, the first laptop, being 5 years old at the time of that event, was refurbished with an HDD from a heavily damaged laptop and added RAM on top of the original. By doing this, it doubled the service life of this laptop and until now, it is still usable for common office tasks.

This 10-year-old laptop is using Windows 10 and can still multi-task and handle multiple open browser tabs at the same time. Although, per observation, slowdowns have been occurring from time to time and sometimes irritating, yet still tolerable.

9. Donate or give it as a gift to others

An old laptop or just simply a computer may not be usable for you anymore in terms of your necessities, but it can still be useful to some who do not need a laptop performing as high as what you need. Instead of putting your laptop in the bin, you can just donate or give your laptop as a gift to anyone who can maximize their specs for their own benefit.

10. Give it to your kids or younger users who are just currently learning the basics

If you have kids, younger nephews or nieces, or just any younger users you may know who are currently learning how to use the basics of a computer, why not just donate it to these youngsters? Learning the basics of a computer does not need to be high-performing.

As long as the laptop has an operating system that still functions, and hardware that still responds, your old laptop can be a more economical way for these kids to learn and master the basics of using a computer.

11. If the laptop’s cover is very brittle, convert it to a desktop PC

Do you worry about your laptop being so brittle that a simple fall or mistake in carrying it might lead to its total demise? But at the same time, you do not want to throw its hardware that is still utilizable and usable?

Due to it being an old model, there is a slim chance that the manufacturer would still be able to refurbish the laptop’s skin or cover. If that is the case, you can still utilize its hardware in good condition by keeping it at a rigid location; connecting it to an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard; and then using it as a desktop computer.

This is also a good alternative to consider for laptops with broken screens.

12. Make it an archive computer if the storage drive still works

If you do not have an external hard drive or do not feel the need to buy one, you can store your old laptop properly at a dry place if you decide to use it as an archive device.

Since you won’t be using it frequently, it could still last longer so you can use your old laptop as an archive device to store files and access them from time to time if you need to visit your archive data. If the battery is detachable, it is best to remove it to avoid leakage if the battery dies.

13. Sell it, even if it is not on trend anymore, unusable, or broken

Don’t just throw it away if it turns unusable by your standards. If it’s in good working condition and amenable to handle flat basic tasks, you can sell or trade it in for a newer model. However, if it is either broken or not software usable, there is still a chance to get some cash by selling its parts.

Such parts may still be valuable to other users who wish to customize their own devices. As always, it is a must to clear your hard drive from any personal data before selling or donating the device.

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Should I give up my old, obsolete, or damaged laptop? Or should I still give it a try?

There are many options to consider when choosing whatever you want to do with an old, obsolete, or damaged laptop. If you think the laptop is still valuable on your usage standards or at least can be modified to be usable again, it is recommended to still give it a try. In this case, it could still be more economical than buying a brand-new laptop.

In any case, it is not economical anymore, or worse, not modifiable anymore, or repairable anymore, you can always opt to sell its parts or use these same parts to modify a newer device as long as they are beneficial.

However, if it is still working in a condition where some other users may deem it still usable, you can always opt to either sell or donate the device.

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Profile image of author Jefferson Huera Guzman

Jefferson is the main author and administrator of Computernoobs.com. I like sharing information and news about technology.