Thursday, 07 May 2015 16:22

How To Pack Your Computer

Moving your desktop computers can be tricky and potentially hazardous. The last thing you want to find when you unpack from your Denver move is that your computer was damaged en route. This article will outline the risks in moving and how to pack your computer safely.

To help you avoid computer casulaties during your move, we asked Jeri Morgan, from Code Blue Computing in Broomfield how to pack your computer safely for moving. She gave us the "headsup" on the potential risks and what you can do to safeguard against them.

Potential Risks

Computers are vulnerable when being moved, unless they are packed properly. (This is especially true for desktop models.) Despite their industrial sounding name, hard drives are actually very fragile. Even though drives are built now to “auto park” the heads into a safe zone when they are powered off, they can still be jolted out this “park” mode which can cause the surface of the platter, (where your data lives) to get scratched. If you have an SSD (Solid State Drive), you have less to worry about as these have no moving parts and are not as delicate.

Other components, such as memory cards, or heavy duty graphics cards are also at risk when moving. (This is more so in desktops than laptops.) For example, Code Blue Computing had a customer who had moved to Denver from another state come to us when his computer wouldn't work when it was unpacked and turned on. When they opened the computer, they discovered that the large video card, which spanned two slots, had never been properly screwed into the ports before the unit was packed up. During transport, the card managed to unseat and the computer then couldn't function correctly.

Another issue to be aware of is that some packing materials can be hazardous to your computer You may be tempted to surround your computer in packing peanuts, but they are made of a static charging material and can actually cause damage.

How to Pack Safely

When you pack your PC yourself, think about the way a company like Dell or Lenovo would package it if they were shipping the computer to you. How would they cushion it? What size box would they use? They would put custom-fitted Styrofoam pieces around the monitor and CPU and place it in a heavy duty, snug-fitting box.

While you may not have the original box and Styrofoam your computer came in, you can replicate their packing methods. You'll need:

  • a thick-walled box
  • 3 - 6 yards of anti-static bubble wrap per computer
  • Packing paper (towels, washcloths, and sheets work well too and you have to pack these anyway.)

Wrap the CPU in the anti-static bubble wrap. (It's usually pink in color.) This will help to protect your computer from a potentially damaging static charge. Styrofoam can generate a static charge and the bubble wrap will mitigate this risk as well as keep peanuts from getting into the unit. Pack the box in such a way that nothing moves or rattles around once it is sealed.

Packing Cables & Peripherals

Place your keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals in the same box, if there's room. Be sure to put plenty of cushioning between each of the items. Also, consider taking a photo of the back of your computer while the cables are still hooked up so you have a map of sorts to refer to when you go to plug your computer and peripherals back in. It's also worth wrapping and labeling each cable and placing them all into one large plastic bag. Similarly, wrap individual items like speakers, mice, and other components in their own bags or bubble wrap.

Take these precautions and your computer should travel safely to its destination.