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What to Do When Your Old Laptop Can’t be Upgraded

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So much excitement in getting your brand-new laptop! Unfortunately, with technology advancing so quickly, it will soon become outdated. While software upgrades keep you on par with what others can do with their computers, at some stage it will simply not be possible to upgrade your device anymore. What then?

This is a common occurrence for many modern tech devices, from mobile phones to cameras. For the sake of the environment and to prevent clutter in your home, consider the following options with older technology.  

Check Again—Are You Sure it Can’t Upgrade?

Don’t simply throw it away; it failed to upgrade just once. Especially if you’re not tech savvy, you may not be aware how you can bypass the problem. Your options range from rebooting the computer to manually going through operating system updates. 

It’s also best to disconnect all external storage units, such as USB flash drives. These can sometimes hinder the update process. Now make sure your laptop has enough storage capacity for the update files and try again. 

If all these update techniques don’t work, consider one of the following options. 

Load a Different OS

Operating systems differ in their requirements to work, so try loading Linux. It may not have the same capabilities as the operating system you’re used to—for example, Windows—but you’ll still be able to use if for multiple tasks. Perhaps it becomes a handy device for your spouse or one of your children.

Repurposing a Laptop

Passing you laptop on to someone else in the family is only one way you can continue getting value from it. Even an old laptop can still give you months or even years of service if you repurpose it in one of these ways: 

  • Storage: If your laptop has a large hard drive, make it your new storage device. You’ll save money because you don’t have to purchase a network-attached storage device. You can use it for the family’s important files or even for your business. 
  • Hotspot: Even some older laptops have Wi-Fi capabilities. This empowers you to transform it into a new hot spot, providing better Wi-Fi access to everyone in the house or office building. 
  • Tasks around the house: Use it for basic tasks, such as looking up a recipe before dinner time.
  • Entertainment: Give your home entertainment a boost and make the laptop work for the whole family. You may be able to run old-style games by using an older Windows version. Another entertainment option is turning your laptop into your media server, for which you’ll simply need server software. If you only use it for this one task—entertainment—even an old laptop will cope. 

Sell it to Someone who has Use for it

If you realize it won’t really add value to your home or business life, rather pass it on to someone else. There’s no reason to create clutter and by you selling it you’re creating a more sustainable system with fewer—still functioning—tech devices ending up in landfill. 

You’ll be surprised how many people will quickly respond when they say “sell my laptop online . Just because it’s too outdated for you doesn’t mean it can’t help someone else. Consumers can pay less compared to buying new and with leading brands like HP or Dell they know they’re still getting a good deal. They may repurpose it one of the ways mentioned above or have a different use for it. 

Tip: if you don’t get a buyer because it’s simply too old, consider donating it to a charity. Companies doing training may be grateful even for outdated devices that can help them teach others a skill. A library may be able to get it refurbished and still get use out of it. 

Tips Before You Part with Your Laptop

Before you sell your old laptop, make sure you follow these guidelines first: 

  • Copy all your valuable files and documents onto another device
  • Delete all existing files and also clear browsing history
  • Deauthorize your computer so software and apps you installed will know you no longer use them there; this is essential for apps and software that only allow you to use it on a limited number of devices
  • All programs should be uninstalled
  • Now you can do a factory reset to wipe the hard drive

Dispose of it CORRECTLY

In some cases, your laptop may simply be too old to serve anyone at all. Then it’s vital to not simply throw it in the garbage. After removing all your data—as shown above—dispose off the components correctly.

There are drop off points in many cities, hosted by companies who will dispose of batteries and recycle many parts. This helps to minimize unnecessary waste and is a way you play a part in helping to look after the environment. 


It can be frustrating when your technology gets too old but at least you can now look forward to taking that new laptop out of its packaging. Simply make sure you first reuse or dispose of the old one correctly. When everyone does their part for the environment, it can make a huge impact in the long run. 


Greg Shane 

Ghostwriter, designer, and videographer. I channel my creative vibes through these mediums, and if in the process my clients are happy then I have been successful in achieving their goals. 


Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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