When is it time for you to dispose a computer?

Simple question. I am interested in your opinion.

When I don’t think I will use it in the future or don’t have anyplace to keep it.

I am lucky enough to have a plenty of hardware so at this point I generally get rid of a PC whenever I buy/build a new one. Modern PCs aren’t likely to have more value/utility in the future than they do now so the sooner you part with them the better. This is true if you are selling or donating.

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I have a few older computers that I would actually still use, but sometimes they behave very strangely and they have a few quirks. Cell phones have an expiration date (which I regularly exceed), namely the point in time at which no more updates are made available by the vendor.

@dalto How long do you keep you computers? Is there a rule, in years or something?

What kind of quirks are we talking about. Other than spinning disks, most computer hardware lasts a long time. Of course, hardware does fail but having failing hardware in a few older computers at the same time sounds like a lot.

This is more risky than most people realize unless you have some other way of keeping them updated such as 3rd party ROMs.

Not at all. I have an non-networked Pentium III running DOS/Windows 98 that is ~20 years old. At the same time, I am sometimes getting rid of PCs that are 2-3 years old. I never keep spinning disks holding important data for more than 3 years.

That’s a hard to answer question. Most quirks are associated with physical damage on laptops, probably old chip-sets, nothing I’m able to locate exactly. Memory swapping, the forums page is constantly reloading. That’s not normal behavior. I can’t find the issue. Performance is very bad on any operating system, so probably I should just take the machine out of use because it is a safety risk for myself and others.

That’s true, but I’m not sure if a 3rd party ROM is a secure alternative.

Certainly if they are physically damaged that is a different story. Also, laptops are something of a wildcard, especially if you buy them used/refurbished because sometimes they have taken a beating for years before you get them. I rarely keep laptops for more than 3-4 years because they often don’t last longer than that.

If it has reached the point you think it is a safety risk it is probably past time to retire it :grimacing:

Of course, it depends on the source. I wouldn’t recommend randomly downloading ROMs from just anywhere. Also, if you are the type of person that likes to buy used phones or keep them for a long period of time, consider getting a phone which is well supported by reputable 3rd parties.

That being said, I may have taken us off-topic so sorry for that.

I’m currently on job-search and will resolve these problems afterward, following your approach: Buy a new machine, retire the old one. :smiley:

Thanks and see you in a couple of weeks or so. I will take my time to search for a opportunity that fits my needs. I think I will find one.

Until then and thanks.


since now it was discovered that the actual Turing Machine has a security flaw, people using it should consider alternatives.

such as 1 bit slice based machines.

Or stuff running a FORTH Unikernel.

Yeah, probably a topic for discussion:

When a Pi has the same or better performance. I have an old ThinkPad that isn’t good enough to be my daily driver, but it is still a great Plex Server, and for that reason I keep it.
There it is, next to my nas making my weekends fun

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An LTS-Kernel solved many problems, so I’m ready for the hands-on lab tomorrow to build something useful.
Can’t imagine any device that isn‘t faster than a PI. I‘m even hesitating to install a Password- manger on an IOT-device.
I like my bike, James Bond and Martini: Shaken, not stirred!

When is it time for you to dispose a computer?

When it is broken beyond repair / unusable? My current laptop is 7-8 years and works like a charm while being used as a daily driver (I did change the disk and display once, added a bit of extra ram) - I would be very sad if it does not serve at least 10 years, but it’s true that it was a somewhat high-end laptop at the time.

We throw so many things away, it’s just insane. I believe you should keep your devices as long as you can, and buy new - if there’s a real need for it - ones second-hand: you can get as many 2-4 years old high-end laptops on the second-hand market as you want since people renew their hardware every two ads they see…

Yes, you don’t get a warranty - but you can buy 2 or 3 - if no more - of those laptops for the price of the latest one. It might be harder for non-tech people to judge, but that’s why you are or have a ‘tech friend’! I often get hardware that people throw away and repurpose it for some friend / no-profit groups / etc.

We’re already living atop a tower of electronic waste, I try not to contribute too much to it. It doesn’t change much to the world, but I least I can sleep at night :wink: Note that’s my view of the question - which I happily discuss - but I’m not here to coerce anyone into anything.


The main use of old (excess) computer for my family is to watch youtube videos. Once it cannot handle the latest video streams, then it is not much use.

If we can follow online videos to do repairs and replacements, buying notebook replacement parts online is not that difficult - it will give a lot more lives for those damaged notebooks.

And if you add a SSD and memory, you can easily get two more years out of it.

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Even if the statements above are very true, I am a bit overwhelmed when it comes to the question whether there should be a minimum of security requirements for a system for private users, since is strictly regulated in many other areas.
There are a couple of tools for industry needs, but for private users, that seems not to be so clear.

Of course, I don’t want to impose any policies on users, rather I would like to evaluate my own system, and that seems to be kind of subjective.

To get a more objective view, which tools would I use?

I mean, we are all interacting with each other, so in the case my system isn’t secure, probably that’s impacting the security of other people…
I’m aware of the hypothetical nature of my statement.

To me, this is very different depending on what you are talking about. If you are talking about a typical laptop or PC, it is generally possible to install an OS which is still supported and getting current security updates even for very old hardware.

On a mobile device, it is a little different because viable ongoing software may or may not exist depending on your model of device.

I was thinking about something similar to the OpenScap-Tool, but realized that there is already a similar topic open. Howsoever, this policy-tool seems to target industry, and I’m not sure if there is a profile for normal home users available.
Okay, let’s not talk the subject to death.