How to Decommission, Reuse, or Sell Your Old PC

There are alternatives. Amazon is a good place if you regularly sell products, but for occasional sales, you’re better off with eBids, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, etc.

Trade-in shops such as BuyBackWorld and will take some big-brand laptops and Macs, but Windows desktops are not listed as a category. They also accept PC components to some degree. If you can sell it to a trade-in shop, don’t expect to get rich. These stores are buying your products to sell at a profit, so you’ll probably get less than you would from a private sale. However, this option is the easiest one, as long as the vendor approves your item for purchase.

There’s no hard and fast rule governing the best way to sell off a given item. Take stock of what you have and go for the approach that you think will work best.

Turn Your Old PC into a NAS Drive and Server

An old, working PC that’s too slow to run the latest applications can be repurposed as a home server by installing the open-source FreeNAS operating system. However, the PC must be 64-bit. Be warned that the system is also quite RAM-hungry, so if your system has less than 2GB, you may need to add more to get FreeNAS running smoothly.

Be aware that a computer running FreeNAS will almost certainly consume more electrical power than a dedicated NAS appliance. To keep things as efficient as possible, see if you can underclock the CPU in the BIOS, and remove any components that aren’t needed to serve files. You don’t need a separate graphics card, for instance, if the system also has integrated graphics. Here’s the step to convert your old PC to NAS.

Step 1: Download TrueNAS Core (formerly FreeNAS)

The easiest way to get started is to download the TrueNAS Core image for free. Extract the IMG file from the downloaded archive.

Step 2: Download Win32 Disk Imager

Download the free Win32 Disk Imager tool, run it, and select your IMG file and the letter of your USB drive. Click “Write” and your bootable TrueNAS Core USB stick will be created.

Step 3: Set Up Your NAS Server

To set up your TrueNAS Core server, you’ll need access to a second PC that’s connected to the same home network. Boot your new “TrueNas Core” system from the USB stick, and after a few minutes, it should give you a numbered menu with an IP address. If no network is found, choose “Configure Network Interfaces” and follow the instructions until it receives an IP address. (For bigger problems setting up, you’re best off checking the FreeNAS/TrueNAS forums.)

Write down that IP address, then type it into the browser URL bar on your second PC to access the FreeNAS web interface with all the settings for your new home server. To get started, go to “Account | Admin Account | Change Admin User,” and set a username and password. That’s for the web login; you’ll also want to create a new user for the server in “Account | Users | New User.” Browse through the rest of the administrative settings to fix any obvious problems, such as an incorrect time or date. Now, you’re ready to set up the storage.

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