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A Guide to Moving Your Computer

It's not just as simple as, "Unplug and pack."

By Livability.com on October 18, 2016

moving your computer
Courtesy of Victor Svensson under a CC 4.0 license.

Your home computer represents an investment, whether you use it to plan your family’s budget, file recipes, communicate with your family and friends or simply enjoy games. Naturally, you want to safeguard it from damage. With careful planning and proper packing, your computer can be transported safely when you relocate.

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Before the Move

If you do not have an exact record of the cost of you computer (including any accessories you’ve purchased), you may want to obtain a current retail cost of your complete system prior to selecting a protection plan from your mover. If you purchase replacement cost protection, many moving companies, including United Van Lines, offer full-value valuation against loss or damage.


Your moving company is best qualified to properly pack your home computer. If you choose to pack it yourself, your computer should be placed in its original carton and packing material when possible.

If you have discarded the original packaging:

  • Choose a sturdy box large enough to permit you to surround the computer with packing material.
  • Crumpled, unprinted newspaper and plastic bubble wrap are the best packing materials. They will serve as a protective cushion and can be purchased from your local moving company.

The central processing unit (CPU) should be handled with extreme care. This unit is especially sensitive to jarring. Again, use a box large enough to accommodate the CPU and plenty of packing material on all sides. These precautionary steps also should be taken when handling an external disk drive.

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The disks that contain your programming and stored data should be moved with you. They are sensitive to heat and cold, and warping could occur with the extreme temperatures that are possible inside a moving van. As a precaution, you may choose to duplicate important files stored on disks and your computer’s hard drive onto backup disks. Place them in a different box or take them with you.

If you have a laser or ink jet printer, remove the toner and any ink cartridges, and carry the cartridges with you if your move occurs during hot weather. For other types of printers, the printer head should be secured – preferably with the original cardboard or plastic parts – to prevent it from shifting. Be sure to refer to the owner’s manual for preparations specific to your printer model.

The remainder of your computer – the keyboard and monitor – consists of solid state circuitry, much like that in a television set. Place crumpled, unprinted newspaper in the bottom of a box and pack the items as you would other computer components.

For additional instructions on packing monitors, please refer to your owner’s manual.

Upon Delivery

Carefully check and mark off the inventory when your shipment is delivered. Allow the computer to reach room temperature before attempting to use it. If it has been particularly cold, watch for condensation, as moisture also can cause damage. If you have any loss or damage, contact the destination agent of your moving company for assistance.

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Moving Computer Recap

For any special questions or concerns about moving your home computer, consult your local United agent or a computer manufacturer representative. Proper preparation prior to a move will ensure the safety of your computer.

This article was provided by United Van Lines, Livability.com’s moving and relocation partner. Be sure to check out even more moving tips and advice to help with your move.

United Van Lines is one of the nation’s largest household goods mover and maintains a network of 1,000 affiliated agencies in 135 countries. More information about United and its services can be found at www.unitedvanlines.com.

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