Sell, repair or donate? Find out what to
do with your old laptop

A laptop can serve you well for 10 years plus if you take good care of it, but most experts agree that the average lifespan is roughly between three to five years.

Some of us are willing our laptop to break, just so we can splurge on an upgrade. Others would prefer to eek out as much use from their computer as possible. This guide is for the latter.

If yours is getting a bit long in the tooth, there are a few things to consider before getting rid of it and skipping off to the shop to buy a shiny new model. Or, depending on your bank balance, begrudgingly browsing eBay.

Can it be repaired? 

The lure of a backlit keyboard, faster processing or an HD camera might be too much for you to resist. But have a think about whether your existing laptop still has some life left in it.

Repair shops can give your laptop a new lease of life that could keep it going for a few more years. Swapping out a dwindling hard drive, clearing malware, and software updates can all help your laptop run faster. Most repair shops will offer you a free quote after running diagnostics which you can then accept or reject.

Bear in mind the price you bought the laptop for and how much it will cost to repair. You might be able to get a new laptop for only a couple of hundred more, but are you going to run into the same problems further down the line?

Like cars, laptops depreciate quickly, at a rate of 30% a year. If the repair costs are 25% of what you bought it for and your computer is already over four years old, you might want to consider an upgrade. But this depends on the make and model. A good repair shop can give you an idea of how many more years your computer has left after repairs.

Quick heads up: If your machine is making a loud whirring noise, this could be a sign that the hard drive is about to fail. Before you do anything else, make sure your files are backed up before you lose them altogether.


Offloading your unwanted laptop

If you do decide to go for a new laptop, you’ve got a few options. These depend on the state of repair on your existing model:

Option 1 sell: There’s no shortage of sites that offer to take your laptop off your hands in a no-hassle transaction. If you’re hoping to get the best price, privately selling through platforms such as eBay or Facebook marketplace are your best options.

Need a little incentive to do so? A Which survey found that a Dell Studio 15 with an RRP of £649 could fetch £215 on eBay. That’s almost four times as much as you would get from sending it to a “cash for laptops” site.

Option 2, donate: There was a clear shortfall in the number of children needing access to a laptop for home-schooling last year. Organisations such as the Turing Trust will take your computer, wipe the hard drive and re-distribute it to students not just in the UK, but in Malawi as well.

Option 3, recycle: If you’re buying a new laptop, the retailer you’re going to is legally obliged to help you dispose of the one you’re replacing. Big retailers will likely have a free take-back service, or if not arrange an alternative at no cost.

Alternatively, take a look at WeeeCharity. They’ll collect your laptop from your home for free, get rid of any data, and either refurbish it to donate or dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.

Otherwise, check your local recycling centre by visiting Recycle Now to see if they take computers.


Preparing your laptop for send-off

Some of these options clear your computer of any data for you. But if you’re selling, or taking your laptop to be recycled yourself, you should always wipe it for any personal information. This could be gold dust to criminals.

Deleting all your files, caches, and history won’t cut it, as deleted files can be recovered. So-called “data shredding” software, such as Eraser deletes data and overwrites it to the point that it’s almost untraceable.

If there’s really no hope for your laptop there’s always the option of physically destroying the hard drive. We’ll leave that to your imagination as to how, but good for venting frustration in any case!


Got a new laptop to protect?

With an Arma Karma insurance subscription, you can make sure that your laptop is covered in and outside the home, as well as abroad. Accidental damage and theft are included as standard, and our cover is designed to protect your laptop in the areas it most needs it, where it needs it.

Laptops are meant to be carried around and used somewhere other than your sofa at home. if you’re working in a café and a slight nudge sends a full mug of coffee over your keyboard, the repairs costs are covered. Likewise, if your laptop bag strap breaks, or someone steals your computer, you’re covered in these instances too.

Our laptop insurance subscription prices average at around £5.83 a month based on a typical policy – although every quote is bespoke, so this may vary. You can insure up to five items with your subscription, with a multiple item discount available.

The last thing you want to do is spend another few hundred pounds on a replacement machine that’s out of, or missing in, action. Before opting for the standard protection package you might be offered with your new laptop in-store, check what is covered and what’s not with such offers. You can get instant, comprehensive cover with an Arma Karma insurance subscription. See how little you can protect your stuff for, and get a quote in minutes.


Did you know? 

It’s not just laptops we can cover at Arma Karma. We can insure up to five items in one policy, including your phone, a musical instrument and jewellery, among other things. Take a look at some of the things we can protect, and enjoy your items outside without fear of them breaking or getting stolen.

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