Tips for Preparing a Computer To Resell

By | April 3, 2012

Every so often it is time to upgrade and move to another computer, but often the old computer can still be put to use and sold. This article is all about preparing a computer, ready to resell.


The first thing when preparing a computer for sale, is to find all the equipment that belongs with the computer. The manual, installation CDs, that mouse and keyboard you replaced, but kept the old ones ready and so on. It is amazing over time how items can become separated, so rather than a last minute dash to find items, best do it first.

Backup contents.

Make sure you backup any files that you need to keep. Many people forget to backup web browser bookmarks, documents and photos, as well as email and other files.

Clean the computer system.

The outside of the computer and the inside can become extremely dirty. Dust build up inside on fans could be producing performance issues, as components might be warmer than they ideally should be. However please be extremely careful, especially with the inside, as many people actually kill their computers by not knowing what they are doing, and kill components with air cans, vacuum cleaners and static. Research how to properly clean a computer if unsure.

Wipe the hard drive.

If you have the installation CD for the operating system, it is best to to perform a re-installation. However before you proceed you should perform a ‘boot and nuke’, to DoD standards at least to wipe the data. Darik’s boot and nuke live CD is a great option. A basic reformat is just not good enough, so taking the few hours to wipe a hard drive, is best. You do not want to become the victim of data theft. This process depending on your hard drive will probably take at least a few hours. Though many businesses decide it isn’t worth the risk, and will have their hard drive professionally disposed of, so that the machine either needs a new hard drive, else is sold without one.

Reinstall the operating system.

Once the hard drive has been ‘boot and nuked’, you can reinstall the operating system. A cleanly installed operating system should also produce improved performance, over a system that had been installed for a number of months or years.

Update the operating system.

It is always important you update the operating system with the latest service packs / updates. For Microsoft Windows this can take a number of hours and multiple reboots. Never presume a batch of updates, followed by one reboot is the end of it, and always check for updates once rebooted. A good method is to already have ‘service packs’ downloaded and on a CD ready to install, then to mop up the latest Windows updates via their Windows update service. For Linux users depending on your installation CD build, expect it also to take a while, and make sure you reboot afterwards and recheck for new updates.

Install drivers.

Newer manufacturer drivers for Linux or Microsoft Windows hardware can provide huge improvements over performance, rather than using older drivers supplied by the operating system maker. The most notable is using newer graphics drivers, which can result in increased performance, as well as new features being available.