When storing computers, it’s always a good idea to use original packaging (box and Styrofoam, etc) if possible.  It was designed to protect your computer during transport and storage.  Consider this, your computer was shipped by truck or train and its packaging kept it safe during its potentially bumpy trip.  When dealing with mechanical items like hard drives and printers, jarring the internals can cause the equipment to lose alignment and cease functioning as expected, so proper packing is critical.  If original packaging is not available; use foam wrap or static free bags or bubble wrap to wrap your components and place in corrugated boxes filled with packing peanuts.  Make sure to fill the boxes to the top to prevent shifting.  Once your computer is packed for storage, use pallets or some other way to elevate the boxes to enhance ventilation and protection against potential flooding, etc.

The other area to remember when dealing with computer storage is climate control.  Heat is the number one cause of electronic failure, especially non mechanical items like the circuit boards and computer chips.  Always protect your computer in storage from prolonged heat exposure.  For long term storage, you may want to consider climate controlled storage where the temperature is maintained between 50°-80°F. This is best for storing computers because they also dislike cold.  Wild fluctuations in temperature can lead to cracking and damage to components due to condensation so consistent temperatures and consistent humidity is critical.  Humidity should be kept around 50RH.

Another thing to remember for portable or battery powered devices is do not leave batteries completely charged or completely empty when storing your computer.  Usually batteries such as the lithium ion variety found in laptop computers do best if stored at a 40% charge.  You can find some other helpful tips by reading How To Store Flat Screen TV’s and Other Electronics.

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  1. says

    I have a Dell Desktop and have to store it in my RV while I am away in Idaho for 3.4 months. As you probably know the desert can get super hot. I do not have access to a climate controled environment for storage. Help me, I can’t afford to buy a new one if I ruin this one. I am unemployed…temps. outside can reach 120 here in the day time and don’t really drop below 100 at night. Is there any way I can do this? Please advise me. We have already been told to leave containers of water all over inside to help with the dryness factor.
    Thanks for anything you can help me with…or maybe I will need to do something else like find someone to put it in their house for the summer we are gone…that will be here using AC?

  2. says

    The RH (relative humidity) and outside temperature will be bad for the computer. I would suggest taking it somewhere else where it is 80 degrees F (friends house, closet, basement) that way you protect your computer and don’t have to spend the money for a new one.

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