How to Pack a Desktop Computer for Moving

How to Pack a Desktop Computer for Moving

Moving a bulky desktop PC may seem like a daunting task. While there are a few things you need to keep in mind while you pack, this process shouldn’t prove to be super difficult. In general, the key thing you want to watch out for is static electricity. Many PC components inside of the computer can be damaged by static electricity, so don’t pack your desktop computer on a carpeted floor, don’t wear socks while you do this, and touch a metal doorknob or appliance before you get started to discharge any static buildup.[1] X Research source

Method 1 of 3:
Desktop Tower

1
Turn the computer off and take the cables out. Shut your computer down first. Then, flip the power switch at the back of your PC (if you have one). Unplug the power cable and set it aside. Next, unplug your keyboard, monitor, ethernet connection, and any other USB connections you may have plugged in to the tower. [2] X Research source Don’t pack the cables in the same box as the PC, as tempting as that may be. Set them aside together to be sorted and packed separately later. This process applies to standard PC towers and gaming computers. However, if you’re moving a gaming PC, it’s a good idea to remove key components and pack the inside of the case first before completing these steps—especially if you’re traveling an especially long distance.
2
Reinforce the bottom of a box that’s big enough to hold the tower. Find a box that’s big enough to hold the tower with a little bit of extra space left over. Flip the box upside down and use packing tape to reinforce the box. Cover each seam multiple times and pull the tape as taut as possible to keep the bottom from falling out. Then, flip the box back over and line the bottom of the box with clean, soft towels or clothes. [3] X Research source If you still have the original box the computer came in, use that. Those boxes tend to be pretty strong, even after you’ve torn them open to remove the PC. Dust is a computer’s worst enemy. If your box has been sitting out for weeks collecting dust while you’ve been packing, vacuum the inside of the box.[4] X Research source
3
Wrap the computer in a blanket or anti-static bubble wrap. You can wrap a large moving blanket around the computer, or buy some anti-static bubble wrap and wrap that around the tower. Secure the blanket or bubble wrap with packing tape. If you want some more added cushioning, repeat this process again to add a second layer of protection. [5] X Research source You can use clothing items or towels instead of a moving blanket or anti-static bubble wrap if you prefer. Just don’t use wool, which has a particular affinity for static electricity. You don’t need to wrap the top and bottom if it isn’t convenient. The clothing at the bottom of the box will protect the bottom of the PC, and you can put a cloth on top of the tower or leave it uncovered once you’re ready to close up the box. Do not use regular bubble wrap, which attracts static electricity. Your hard drive and graphics card are especially at risk if your computer is exposed to a lot of static buildup.
4
Set the computer inside of the box right-side up. Carefully lift your tower up and set it in the middle of your cardboard box. Do not pack your computer on its side or upside-down. If you can’t get the tower to rest evenly inside of the box, take it out and move the clothing around at the bottom to even it out. [6] X Research source Hold the computer with two hands while you’re lifting it and just go slow here. If you’re packing a gaming PC, do not put any pressure on the fiberglass panel. You can shatter this side if you apply too much pressure to it.
5
Fill in the remaining empty space with clothes or packing paper. If there’s any leftover space, fill it in with towels, clothes, packing paper, or foam. This will keep your computer from sliding around in the box or tipping the box over when it’s in transport. Once the empty space inside of the box is filled in, close the top of the box and tape it up. [7] X Research source Write “fragile” and “computer” all over the box in large, capital letters. Whether you’re hiring movers or moving on your own, this will keep anyone from accidentally mishandling your computer.
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Method 2 of 3:
Peripherals

1
Wrap your cables and label them before putting them in a box. Untangle each cable and softly loop them around themselves so that you aren’t bending them. Secure each cable with Velcro straps, rubber bands, or zip ties. Pack your cables in smaller cardboard boxes. [8] X Research source You should be able to figure out which cable goes where with a few minutes of guesswork when you unpack. However, if you have a ton of electronics and a variety of cables, label them. Wrap a piece of tape around each cable and jot down what the cable is for in permanent marker. Don’t wrap the cables so tight that they’re putting a ton of pressure on them.
2
Protect your monitor screen with cardboard before packing it. Unplug your monitor and grab a thick piece of cardboard. Hold it over the screen and trace the monitor. Then, cut the cardboard out with a utility knife or scissors. Tape the cardboard around the edges of the monitor to protect the screen. Then, wrap the monitor in bubble wrap, a blanket, or cloth before wrapping tape around the monitor. Set your monitor in a well-stuffed cardboard box with the screen facing up. [9] X Research source Write “fragile” and “computer screen” on the box (movers and moving buddies may not know what a monitor is). You can stuff your box with packing paper, packing peanuts, clothing, or foam. So long as the screen is covered and it’s facing up in the box, it shouldn’t really matter. If the stand for your monitor is removable, unscrew the stand and pack it separately. Do not use newspaper to pack your monitor. The ink can rub off on the screen, and the texture may scratch your monitor.
3
Wrap your keyboard loosely in cloth or paper to protect the keys. Loosely wrap the cable for your keyboard around the keys. Use a small piece of tape to pin the end of the cable to the back of the keyboard. Then, grab a soft blanket, sweater, or packing paper and wrap it gently around the keyboard. Don’t worry about taping the protective layer down. Set the keyboard inside of a small box with the keys facing up and tape the box closed. [10] X Research source Write “keyboard” on the box. If it’s a higher-end keyboard, write “fragile.” Pillowcases are perfect for keyboards if you’re trying to pack your clothing and bed sheets efficiently. Slide the keyboard inside of a pillowcase, fold it around a few times, and repeat the process with 2-3 more pillowcases. If the keyboard’s cable is detachable, take it out and pack it separately with your other cables. If you have a really high-end mechanical keyboard, consider investing in a protective sleeve or case for it. This is really the best way to transport a nicer keyboard.
4
Use packing paper to wrap your headphones, speakers, and mouse. Your headphones, computer speakers, and mouse aren’t as fragile as the screen, tower, or keyboard. Just wrap each item up in clothing or packing paper and set them in a box together. Fill in any excess space with packing peanuts, paper, or clothing. [11] X Research source Label the box “computer peripherals ” or “PC peripherals.”
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Method 3 of 3:
Gaming Computer

1
Pack the inside of your gaming PC if you want added protection. If you own a gaming PC, it may be a good idea to protect the interior components before you wrap the tower up as described above. However, this is not mandatory—if you’re going to move a short distance or the box won’t leave your side in the move, you do not need to do this. It’s just an added set of steps to make sure your investment stays safe if movers are handling your PC or you’re making a longer trip. [12] X Research source If you built the PC yourself, this should be fairly easy for you since you installed the components yourself. If you purchased a pre-built PC, don’t remove anything you aren’t comfortable taking out. At bare minimum, remove the fiberglass panel and fill in the interior with packing paper and foam as described below. If you have a standard closed-case desktop, you cannot remove the panels so don’t worry about this. This process only applies to gaming computers, which have a removable fiberglass side for accessing the components.
2
Take off the fiberglass panel off with the knobs or a screwdriver. Unplug everything and set your tower down on its side with the fiberglass panel facing up. If your gaming case has knobs on the fiberglass panel, twist them counterclockwise to remove the glass. If there are screws, grab a screwdriver and remove them to slide the glass out of the frame. [13] X Research source Set the fiberglass flat on a clean blanket to keep it from getting scratched up. This is a great opportunity to clear out any dust. Just hit the inside of the computer with some canned air to clean it out. Just make sure you put a gentle finger on the fan blades when blowing air on them to keep them from spinning.
3
Remove the larger components and pack them separately. Every gaming PC has different components, and you don’t need to remove all of them. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the component, the safer your PC will be if you remove it. After you take each component out, place it in an anti-static bag to protect it. [14] X Research source Here are the components you may want to remove: Graphics card (GPU). This is almost always the heaviest component in your computer.[15] X Research source Pull out the cables connecting the GPU to the battery and unscrew the screws holding it in the case. Then, press or flip the clip on top of the GPU that connects it to the motherboard to unlock it. Slide the GPU out of the case.[16] X Research source CPU cooler.[17] X Research source Pull out the cable connecting the cooler to the motherboard. Then, unclip the tab holding it in place (for an AMD CPU) or unscrew the four screws holding it in the case (for an Intel CPU). Gently lift the cooler out and bag it up.[18] X Research source If you have liquid cooling, do not take the system out—it’s not especially heavy and the tubes are hard to remove. You need to reapply the thermal paste before reinstalling the CPU cooler if you take it out. Hard drive. This process differs from model to model, and case to case. You typically unscrew a panel on the back and slide the hard drive out after unplugging it from the power supply.
4
Wrap a zip tie or rubber band around the RAM casings. To keep your RAM from popping out during transport, grab a zip tie or large rubber band. Wrap it around the plastic case where the RAM cards connect to the motherboard. Gently release the rubber band or softly tighten the zip tie to apply slight pressure to the RAM casings. [19] X Research source This will ensure that your RAM cards are secure inside of the case and don’t pop out while you’re in transit. You can take the RAM cards out if you really want, but they should be fine if you just leave them in the case with a little added support from a zip tie or rubber band.
5
Tie or tape down loose cables inside of the case. For every cable that you unplug from a component, peel off a small piece of electrical tape and adhere the cable to any empty space in your case. This will keep the cables from flying around in your case and damaging other parts of your computer. [20] X Research source If your power supply is at the bottom of the case, you can tape the cables on top of the power supply’s cover.
6
Stuff the inside of the PC with packing paper and close the case. Grab a ton of packing paper and start crumpling it up. Fill in all of the empty space inside of the case gently. Slide paper comfortably between any components that that may come loose. Once your case is relatively full of paper, put the fiberglass side back on the computer and pack the tower as described in the first section. [21] X Research source When your case was shipped to you or you bought your PC, the inside was filled with expanding foam. You can buy this foam if you’d like, but it’s kind of expensive and unnecessary unless you’re shipping the computer internationally. You can also cut up a pool noodle and use that to fill in the computer.
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Method 1 of 3:
Desktop Tower

1
Turn the computer off and take the cables out. Shut your computer down first. Then, flip the power switch at the back of your PC (if you have one). Unplug the power cable and set it aside. Next, unplug your keyboard, monitor, ethernet connection, and any other USB connections you may have plugged in to the tower. [2] X Research source Don’t pack the cables in the same box as the PC, as tempting as that may be. Set them aside together to be sorted and packed separately later. This process applies to standard PC towers and gaming computers. However, if you’re moving a gaming PC, it’s a good idea to remove key components and pack the inside of the case first before completing these steps—especially if you’re traveling an especially long distance.
2
Reinforce the bottom of a box that’s big enough to hold the tower. Find a box that’s big enough to hold the tower with a little bit of extra space left over. Flip the box upside down and use packing tape to reinforce the box. Cover each seam multiple times and pull the tape as taut as possible to keep the bottom from falling out. Then, flip the box back over and line the bottom of the box with clean, soft towels or clothes. [3] X Research source If you still have the original box the computer came in, use that. Those boxes tend to be pretty strong, even after you’ve torn them open to remove the PC. Dust is a computer’s worst enemy. If your box has been sitting out for weeks collecting dust while you’ve been packing, vacuum the inside of the box.[4] X Research source
3
Wrap the computer in a blanket or anti-static bubble wrap. You can wrap a large moving blanket around the computer, or buy some anti-static bubble wrap and wrap that around the tower. Secure the blanket or bubble wrap with packing tape. If you want some more added cushioning, repeat this process again to add a second layer of protection. [5] X Research source You can use clothing items or towels instead of a moving blanket or anti-static bubble wrap if you prefer. Just don’t use wool, which has a particular affinity for static electricity. You don’t need to wrap the top and bottom if it isn’t convenient. The clothing at the bottom of the box will protect the bottom of the PC, and you can put a cloth on top of the tower or leave it uncovered once you’re ready to close up the box. Do not use regular bubble wrap, which attracts static electricity. Your hard drive and graphics card are especially at risk if your computer is exposed to a lot of static buildup.
4
Set the computer inside of the box right-side up. Carefully lift your tower up and set it in the middle of your cardboard box. Do not pack your computer on its side or upside-down. If you can’t get the tower to rest evenly inside of the box, take it out and move the clothing around at the bottom to even it out. [6] X Research source Hold the computer with two hands while you’re lifting it and just go slow here. If you’re packing a gaming PC, do not put any pressure on the fiberglass panel. You can shatter this side if you apply too much pressure to it.
5
Fill in the remaining empty space with clothes or packing paper. If there’s any leftover space, fill it in with towels, clothes, packing paper, or foam. This will keep your computer from sliding around in the box or tipping the box over when it’s in transport. Once the empty space inside of the box is filled in, close the top of the box and tape it up. [7] X Research source Write “fragile” and “computer” all over the box in large, capital letters. Whether you’re hiring movers or moving on your own, this will keep anyone from accidentally mishandling your computer.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 3:
Peripherals

1
Wrap your cables and label them before putting them in a box. Untangle each cable and softly loop them around themselves so that you aren’t bending them. Secure each cable with Velcro straps, rubber bands, or zip ties. Pack your cables in smaller cardboard boxes. [8] X Research source You should be able to figure out which cable goes where with a few minutes of guesswork when you unpack. However, if you have a ton of electronics and a variety of cables, label them. Wrap a piece of tape around each cable and jot down what the cable is for in permanent marker. Don’t wrap the cables so tight that they’re putting a ton of pressure on them.
2
Protect your monitor screen with cardboard before packing it. Unplug your monitor and grab a thick piece of cardboard. Hold it over the screen and trace the monitor. Then, cut the cardboard out with a utility knife or scissors. Tape the cardboard around the edges of the monitor to protect the screen. Then, wrap the monitor in bubble wrap, a blanket, or cloth before wrapping tape around the monitor. Set your monitor in a well-stuffed cardboard box with the screen facing up. [9] X Research source Write “fragile” and “computer screen” on the box (movers and moving buddies may not know what a monitor is). You can stuff your box with packing paper, packing peanuts, clothing, or foam. So long as the screen is covered and it’s facing up in the box, it shouldn’t really matter. If the stand for your monitor is removable, unscrew the stand and pack it separately. Do not use newspaper to pack your monitor. The ink can rub off on the screen, and the texture may scratch your monitor.
3
Wrap your keyboard loosely in cloth or paper to protect the keys. Loosely wrap the cable for your keyboard around the keys. Use a small piece of tape to pin the end of the cable to the back of the keyboard. Then, grab a soft blanket, sweater, or packing paper and wrap it gently around the keyboard. Don’t worry about taping the protective layer down. Set the keyboard inside of a small box with the keys facing up and tape the box closed. [10] X Research source Write “keyboard” on the box. If it’s a higher-end keyboard, write “fragile.” Pillowcases are perfect for keyboards if you’re trying to pack your clothing and bed sheets efficiently. Slide the keyboard inside of a pillowcase, fold it around a few times, and repeat the process with 2-3 more pillowcases. If the keyboard’s cable is detachable, take it out and pack it separately with your other cables. If you have a really high-end mechanical keyboard, consider investing in a protective sleeve or case for it. This is really the best way to transport a nicer keyboard.
4
Use packing paper to wrap your headphones, speakers, and mouse. Your headphones, computer speakers, and mouse aren’t as fragile as the screen, tower, or keyboard. Just wrap each item up in clothing or packing paper and set them in a box together. Fill in any excess space with packing peanuts, paper, or clothing. [11] X Research source Label the box “computer peripherals ” or “PC peripherals.”
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Method 3 of 3:
Gaming Computer

1
Pack the inside of your gaming PC if you want added protection. If you own a gaming PC, it may be a good idea to protect the interior components before you wrap the tower up as described above. However, this is not mandatory—if you’re going to move a short distance or the box won’t leave your side in the move, you do not need to do this. It’s just an added set of steps to make sure your investment stays safe if movers are handling your PC or you’re making a longer trip. [12] X Research source If you built the PC yourself, this should be fairly easy for you since you installed the components yourself. If you purchased a pre-built PC, don’t remove anything you aren’t comfortable taking out. At bare minimum, remove the fiberglass panel and fill in the interior with packing paper and foam as described below. If you have a standard closed-case desktop, you cannot remove the panels so don’t worry about this. This process only applies to gaming computers, which have a removable fiberglass side for accessing the components.
2
Take off the fiberglass panel off with the knobs or a screwdriver. Unplug everything and set your tower down on its side with the fiberglass panel facing up. If your gaming case has knobs on the fiberglass panel, twist them counterclockwise to remove the glass. If there are screws, grab a screwdriver and remove them to slide the glass out of the frame. [13] X Research source Set the fiberglass flat on a clean blanket to keep it from getting scratched up. This is a great opportunity to clear out any dust. Just hit the inside of the computer with some canned air to clean it out. Just make sure you put a gentle finger on the fan blades when blowing air on them to keep them from spinning.
3
Remove the larger components and pack them separately. Every gaming PC has different components, and you don’t need to remove all of them. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the component, the safer your PC will be if you remove it. After you take each component out, place it in an anti-static bag to protect it. [14] X Research source Here are the components you may want to remove: Graphics card (GPU). This is almost always the heaviest component in your computer.[15] X Research source Pull out the cables connecting the GPU to the battery and unscrew the screws holding it in the case. Then, press or flip the clip on top of the GPU that connects it to the motherboard to unlock it. Slide the GPU out of the case.[16] X Research source CPU cooler.[17] X Research source Pull out the cable connecting the cooler to the motherboard. Then, unclip the tab holding it in place (for an AMD CPU) or unscrew the four screws holding it in the case (for an Intel CPU). Gently lift the cooler out and bag it up.[18] X Research source If you have liquid cooling, do not take the system out—it’s not especially heavy and the tubes are hard to remove. You need to reapply the thermal paste before reinstalling the CPU cooler if you take it out. Hard drive. This process differs from model to model, and case to case. You typically unscrew a panel on the back and slide the hard drive out after unplugging it from the power supply.
4
Wrap a zip tie or rubber band around the RAM casings. To keep your RAM from popping out during transport, grab a zip tie or large rubber band. Wrap it around the plastic case where the RAM cards connect to the motherboard. Gently release the rubber band or softly tighten the zip tie to apply slight pressure to the RAM casings. [19] X Research source This will ensure that your RAM cards are secure inside of the case and don’t pop out while you’re in transit. You can take the RAM cards out if you really want, but they should be fine if you just leave them in the case with a little added support from a zip tie or rubber band.
5
Tie or tape down loose cables inside of the case. For every cable that you unplug from a component, peel off a small piece of electrical tape and adhere the cable to any empty space in your case. This will keep the cables from flying around in your case and damaging other parts of your computer. [20] X Research source If your power supply is at the bottom of the case, you can tape the cables on top of the power supply’s cover.
6
Stuff the inside of the PC with packing paper and close the case. Grab a ton of packing paper and start crumpling it up. Fill in all of the empty space inside of the case gently. Slide paper comfortably between any components that that may come loose. Once your case is relatively full of paper, put the fiberglass side back on the computer and pack the tower as described in the first section. [21] X Research source When your case was shipped to you or you bought your PC, the inside was filled with expanding foam. You can buy this foam if you’d like, but it’s kind of expensive and unnecessary unless you’re shipping the computer internationally. You can also cut up a pool noodle and use that to fill in the computer.
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