What Do I Do With My Broken Laptop?

broken laptop
Image Source: TechRepublic


Have you recently upgraded to a newer laptop? Or are you ready to clear out clutter and need to find something to do with your old device? Is your laptop broken but still worth something?

If so, you may wonder – what can you do with a broken laptop?

10 Things You Can Do With Your Broken Laptop

The fact is you have a few options. Keep reading to learn what many of these are.

1. Consider Using an External Monitor

If your laptop has a broken screen but otherwise still functions properly, you may still be able to use it but via an external monitor.

Most modern operating systems will allow you to configure the second monitor, so it is not just a duplicate of the original screen you are working on. For example, you may pull up a reference document on one screen while you compose an email on the other.

While using an external monitor doesn’t completely solve the problem of having a broken screen, it is a great workaround if you mostly use your laptop at home.

2. Create a PC-In-a-Keyboard (Fun!)

Like the option above, if the important parts of your laptop, like the hard drive, processor, etc., are fine, but the keyboard, hinge, LCD, or other external parts are broken, you have options.

For example, you can remove the laptop’s guts, put them into a desktop keyboard, and then connect the keyboard to a separate monitor.

You can find instructions online about how to do this.

3. Try Fixing the Laptop

Unless the laptop motherboard has stopped working or if the display is useless, repairing your “dead” laptop is not impossible. In fact, this is quite realistic.

You can pay for a professional repair service to fix your laptop for you, but this option is more expensive. In some cases, the repairs are more expensive than what the laptop is worth.

If you can’t afford a new device right now or just want to avoid spending that money, you may want to try to fix the issue on your own.

If your issue isn’t hardware related but a software issue instead, you can take it to any repair center and they can look into the issue for you. You might also be able to find a fix online by Googling around.

4. Order A Needed Part

If your computer issue is indeed hardware related, ordering a new part and fixing it yourself is an option.

You can also take it to a repair center and have them do everything for you, or just bring the broken laptop and part you ordered online to them so they can do the work.

You may have to call the device manufacturer or look on sites like lenovo.com to figure out what you need. Usually, if you provide the model number, you can find the specifications for the required part.

Sometimes, you can order the part directly from the manufacturer. However, it’s worth looking on third-party sites because you can probably find it for less.

5. Learn How to Fix the Problem

A broken laptop is a great learning opportunity. But, you have to figure out the right way to replace the broken part. If you only need to replace a stick of RAM or hard drive, the instructions will likely be in the manual that was delivered with your machine.

That’s because hard drives and RAM are usually user-replaceable parts. While this isn’t always the case, it is for most newer devices.

If you aren’t sure what to do, there’s a good chance you can find a full repair guide online or even videos of what to do.

6. Use the Old Hard Drive as an External Hard Drive

Did you know you can remove the hard drive from your laptop and use it again? In some cases, you can even recover old photos or documents from the hard drive.

If you prefer, have the hard drive wiped completely.

Transforming the broken laptop’s hard drive into a functional external hard drive is a great way to repurpose the machine and continue using it in some way.

7. Strip the Device and Sell the Parts

You can turn your device into an organ donor. You can open it, remove the hardware inside of the casing, and use it for other purposes.

You can sell the parts individually on Craigslist or sell the entire device at a lower price. If you do this, just make sure to note what is and isn’t working.

You may also want to keep some of the parts you remove for other uses. If they are still working, the RAM, optical drive, and hard drive can have other uses down the road.

For example, you can place the optical drive, and the hard drive can be put in individual enclosures and used as stand-alone devices or installed in a different machine.

While losing your laptop is never fun, getting a few peripherals allows you to salvage some of the devices.

For example, RAM is always beneficial to have around and use in different machines. Even if this isn’t your new computer, more memory is something you can’t go wrong with.

8. Donate the Device

Did you know that most schools will be more than happy to accept old, broken laptops? If they have a computer science class, they can fix it or at least learn from it without worrying about what may be broken.

Students who are interested in repairing computers may need to practice with an old device. They can also harvest the parts from it and put them in the custom-built machines they have.

9. Sell the Computer to an Individual Computer Repair Service

Is there a computer repair shop in your local area? If so, they may be interested in purchasing your broken device.

Some shops only purchase devices that are still working; however, others will buy those with functional and non-functional parts.

While you may not get a lot of money for these devices, something is better than nothing in this situation.

Even if they are not interested in buying your broken laptop, most computer repair shops will give you tips regarding safely discarding it.

10. Sell the Laptop for Cash Online

Selling a broken laptop online is another option.

If you decide to go this route, make sure you take the right steps. For example, even if the device is broken, it could still have data and information stored on the hard drive.

Because of this, you need to remove the hard drive, if possible, and erase the information. You want to ensure someone does not access personal information from the device.

If you use an online auction site or even a classified site, make sure you take good pictures and write an accurate description.

Some of the information to include in your written description include:

    • Brand and model of the device
    • What does and doesn’t work
    • Details of damage
    • Accessories and extras that come with it

The more detailed you can be about the issues, the better. Make sure it is clear that the laptop is broken.

You also must consider the price you want to sell the device for. Even if there are functional parts in the laptop, you will still not get full value.

3 Tips for Disposing An Old, Broken Laptop

If you have a device that can’t be salvaged and you don’t plan to donate or sell it, you need to ensure it is disposed of and recycled properly.

Most laptops contain some hazardous materials, which means they don’t need to be sent to the landfill.

You do have a few options for disposing of a laptop.

1. Have It Evaluated Online or Locally First

Having your device professionally inspected is beneficial for a few reasons. The professionals can remove personal information and determine if any of the parts are salvageable.

You can go to a computer repair shop or an online service.

2. Avoid Putting the Laptop in the Trash

The easiest way to recycle your laptop is through the original manufacturer. Some companies even have programs that will pay to ship it or take it back for free.

If you decide to recycle the device yourself, be sure to find out how the local area prefers hazardous waste be disposed of.

While some companies may recycle these items for free, others may charge a fee. Either way, you need to know the proper way to get rid of the device in your area.

3. Properly Handle Your Broken Laptop

As you can see from the information above, you have several disposal options to consider if you have a broken laptop. Each of these provides various benefits, and all you have to do is figure out which one makes the most sense for you.

Take some time to evaluate the overall condition of the device and if any part is sellable. At this point, you can decide how you want to move forward.

Are you looking for more helpful resources and guides on tech devices? If so, be sure to check out some of the other articles on our website.

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