Last edited: 3/12/2019
These days, most desktop computers have been replaced with ultra-portable laptops and tablets. However, for gaming and certain jobs like medical imaging consulting and design work, PCs are still essential.
So how do you pack and ship your computer overseas with confidence? Like everything in the moving world, it starts with careful preparation and planning. With the right materials, a little ingenuity and a bit of time, anyone can pack their computer up for the journey to Hawaii.
Here are our top tips for shipping your computer overseas. We’ve added some helpful links to how-to videos so you can see the process in action.
1. Backup Your Hard Drive
Before you begin packing your computer for its overseas journey you should back up the contents of your computer’s hard drive. This way, if something does happen to your device you won’t lose all of your files. Thankfully, gone are the days of painstakingly burning CDs and DVDs with backups of your important files. Many newer operating systems have automatic back-up features for photos, documents, and files. To be sure you get everything of importance we suggest you back up to the cloud. For just a few bucks a month you’ll get plenty of space to maintain an accurate backup of your files.
Extra Tip: For even more you can purchase an external drive and use backup software. Make sure to start early, because the entire process can take a while. Remember to take the external back-up drive with you to cut down on the chance of both instances being destroyed. Like The Wirecutter says in their guide to the best backup service, “multiple baskets make for fewer broken eggs.”
2. Disassemble and Remove Important Components
If you have a desktop computer, you’ll want to disassemble it before packing. First, turn the computer off. Take a picture of where all the cords go so that you have a reference when you reassemble it after the move. Unplug the cords, label them, and prevent them from becoming one tangled mass by tying them up with rubber bands or placing them in separate plastic bags.
For added safety, one option is to remove your hard drive and pack it separately, or take it with you (assuming the hard drive is removable). When the drive is left in the tower, the information stored on it is more vulnerable to loss or corruption. Here’s a really great and easy-to-follow video explaining how to extract the drive from your tower.
The hard drive isn’t the only component you should consider removing before shipping your desktop overseas. You’ll want to remove pieces that are easy to pop out to reduce the risk of harming your unit. For instance, the graphics card and CPU cooling fans, which are both heavy and may stress or damage the motherboard, are simple to uninstall. The more you take out
If opening your computer up and removing its guts is daunting, a simple Google search and trip to a local computer maintenance store might be your best bet. Big box stores and mom and pop shops will offer you assistance – at a small price – to ensure the job is done correctly. A little extra peace of mind goes a long way when you are preparing for a big move. The same goes for reassembling your computer once you get to your new home. Nothing is more frustrating than putting a component into place, screwing in all of those tiny screws, and hitting the power button to find you’ve done something wrong. Reaching out to a local service provider will
3. Pack Your Computer Like a Pro
First, make sure that your computer has cooled down completely before you wrap it up and put it into a box. If possible, use the box and packing material that your computer originally came in, as long they are still in good condition. If not, or if you don’t have the original packaging materials anymore, you can do it yourself.
- Packing paper
- Bubble wrap
- Styrofoam inserts
- Plastic bags
- Sturdy boxes
Steps for packing your computer:
- First, make sure the box or boxes you are going to use will actually fit your computer and its components. This may sound simple enough, but finding a box that isn’t too small or too big is essential to building the perfect load. Find a box that fits the tower so it can stand vertically and leaves enough room for packing paper and inserts to cushion the sides from damage.
- Layer the bottom of the box with bubble wrap and styrofoam to build a nice barrier.
- Wrap the tower in several sheets of packing paper, sealing each layer with sturdy tape. For moving pros, packing paper is an essential tool for moving just about everything in a home. You can purchase the materials online or ask your moving service provider for some extra materials to be included in your quote. You won’t need much for your computer but it will come in handy!
- Place your carefully wrapped PC inside the box on top of the cushion.
- Seal your components like your mouse and keyboard in bags filled with styrofoam and place inside the box.
- Fill the gaps around the tower with styrofoam and packing paper to the point of immobilization. The less movement the better for fragile goods.
For your monitor and printer, repeat the steps in separate boxes, paying careful attention to cushioning the screen. We recommend taping down any moving parts on your printer so they won’t open or move in transit.
While laptops aren’t on our list of things we don’t want to move – they’re close. If you have a laptop, you’ll probably just want to keep it with you during the move (plus, depending on where you’re coming from the flight might be long…and there’s no guarantee your in-flight entertainment system is going to work!) If you do need to ship it, we recommend watching this video for some good packing tips. With a little know-how, you can beat the stress of shipping a computer overseas.
Or you can just let the pros do it for you.
Royal Hawaiian Movers makes the whole process a lot easier by packing up your computer for you. We use professional materials and best practices to get it done right, which gives you one less thing to worry about.
What about insurance?
For a small additional fee, you can get full replacement value protection to cover the entire value of your computer, as long as that value is verifiable. To qualify for additional liability for shipping your computer, it must be packed by Royal Hawaiian Movers. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about our packing services or to get a quote.