Whether you are traveling, have upgraded to a new system, or are between homes, you can find yourself needing to store your desktop computer for a long period of time. A self-storage facility is a good place for it. However, you need to take a few precautions if you want to ensure the machine still works when you pick it up later. Here are two things you need to do to prepare your desktop computer for long-term storage.
Take Out the Batteries
Unlike laptops that are designed to run on built-in batteries, desktop computers get their power from external sources. However, they too have batteries that provide power to internal clocks and CMOS chips when the computers are turned off. These batteries can degrade when the desktops are unplugged from a power source for long periods of time, and certain kinds may leak and damage essential components (NiCad-type batteries are prone to this).
Therefore, it's best to open up your machine, remove all the batteries it contains, and store them separately. To keep the terminals inside the computer from degrading or being damaged while empty, place a bit of insulating tape over them. To ensure you don't lose the batteries, place them in a plastic bag with a desiccant packet to absorb moisture and tape it to the side of the computer.
Seal in an Airtight Container
The two biggest dangers to a computer in long-term storage are moisture and dust. Water can short-circuit electrical components and cause metal parts to rust. Dust can clog the inside of the machine, attract moisture, prevent it from evaporating, and may even contain microscopic bugs that can damage your computer.
Both of these items can get inside your computer through the vents. Most of the time, dust and moisture is repelled away from the internal parts of the machine by the fans. However, since the computer will be off, you need to take extra measures to protect it from environmental elements.
The best thing you can do is place the computer in an airtight container, such as a plastic bin with a secure lid or an oversized sealable plastic bag. Be certain to place desiccant packets inside these containers as condensation has a tendency to form inside plastic when the temperature and humidity fluctuates from one extreme to another. To avoid this, it's best to get a temperature and humidity controlled storage unit that will make this problem a non-issue.
If plastic containers are not available to you, an alternative option is to wrap your computer in bubble wrap and place it in a cardboard box that exactly matches its dimensions. This will help keep out moisture, dirt, and most pests.
For more tips on storing your desktop computer long-term, contact a storage facility in your area such as AA All American Airborne Self-Storage.