How to Obtain a FREE Computer




While you may have seen instructables that say "free" but you still have to pay for materials/suchlike I will start off by saying that the computer i got costed absolutely zero and i got it in less than 1 day. The monitor was also free as it was "incompatible" pah silly people it was just old.

The only downside is that it wont be brilliant, at best it will be a spare/homework computer so dont be looking to replace your sick alienware gaming computer that you overclocked so far it caught fire.

Step 1: Problems

Believe me not many people will throw out a computer that has NOTHING wrong with it. Though dont lose hope as the less computer-literate will take a dying hard drive as a dying motherboard and decide that the computer is old enough to justify throwing out instead of taking to an expert. This means that your computer won't be made of one but of multiple broken computers. This can also make it better by getting the best of everything.

Step 2: Different Methods

Methods of getting a new computer are varied and will depend on where you live.
If you live in an area that does council waste pickup then brilliant! Go to the next step
If you live in an area with lots of dumpsters, or just a few good ones, go to the step after that.
If you have neither of these then the step after that, or
If you live on the moon go home

Pictures are stuff i collected, not alll of it though

Step 3: Council Cleanup

This is the best way of getting a new computer short of getting one your university/college/whatever is throwing out. With everyones year-collected household waste spilled out into the street you merely have to walk around a few blocks, (I rode but still) and you are bound to find plenty. This is the way i found mine.

Step 4: Dumpster-Diving

Well you all know what to do here dont you. And if i say the wrong thing about Americans and dumpsters I'll have a hundred angry commenter bees stinging my eyes before i can say, "I didnt mean YOU were the trash." So ill leave dumpster diving to you and a link.
This one has good info.

Step 5: Hand-Me-Downs

For this one you will need to know someone or a company that is throwing one out.
Step 1. Ask politely
Results: new computer

If its a company they've probably just chucked it in a skip/tip, just hoist it out and there you go.

Step 6: Putting It All Together

Check the computers to see which one works best. I had one running xp and one running 98. Guess which one i went with.
Only problem was it only had 15gig! Luckily i had found a 40 gig hard drive that worked in it and i ran that.
A missing CD drive was replaced and everything put back together.

Step 7: Done

And there you have it. your very own FREE computer.



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    16 Discussions

    Try asking schools. My school gave me the iMac G5 I use which they thought was toast because it didn't boot. I tried to install OS X and it actually worked again. However it has a blue screen color to it but I got a free computer! Just can't do a lot with it though, but I have a phone for that.

    My mom also got a free computer from one of her friends. It had a intel pentium dualcore, 2 hard drive, 2 optical drive, but all of these actually came from trash computers. The mobo came from a HP thing. That thing is fast due to its clockspeed but laggy because of the core number, ram, and drives technology. Oh well. I opened it and found gaming pc parts in it lol


    5 years ago

    My friend Cody was once dumpster diving,and guess what he found? A 15 year old windows 98 computer :D


    6 years ago on Step 4

    Dumpster diving is more fun than you would think... try it before you knock it! I have fond memories of great items found.


    7 years ago on Step 7

    have a couple of those


    7 years ago on Introduction

    My friend found an iMac G5 in a dumpster. It didn't work and he didn't know how to fix it, so he gave it to me. FTW : )


    Hey man,

    Today I found out my Dad threw out my old comp stuff yesterday, even though I told him not to. I have 1 motherboard (Really expensive), 3 graphics cards (They're pretty cheap, they're about 8-10 years old, but they run fine), and an old nokia cell phone with apple written on it using a sharpie (It's dead, but it's cool).

    Will you accept this amazing quest?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    haha if i could i would. Don't suppose you know anything who would be likely to throw out an old woodworking router?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable! It pushes me one step closer to my dream of living in a room where the walls are not visible due to mass electronics!

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    most of the time the people who trow their good things in a trash like a electronic and electric one, you know it work when you see they cut the power cord. each time the power cord will cut, the thing will work when i change it to new one, because the people dont want the people like me reuse their things. yes many many computer in trash, now i am on internet with a pentium 4 i found in garbage. i found very very much electronic thing in garbage even in my town have a politic and company to give a second life to the electronic. i made all my electronic workshop component with trash electronic devices.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yea same deal here most of the time but i'm starting to suspect people are worried about someone getting it out of the trash, electrocuting themselves and sueing. Lst junk pile day i found a surround sound booster system with 8 speakers which now resides in my shed after i fixed its cut power cord.

    All these pictures of computer parts lying around reminds me of me entire house.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You could take that as a real positive but it does make it difficult to make things. Though I live in a faily small town and we still throw out some fairly decent stuff.