How to ship a computer?

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I'm moving  from the East to the West Coast, and I'd like to mail my
computer. Any tips on how to safely ship it? It's a standard Dell P4
desktop. I don't have the original box, but I can get another one. I'm
thinking of just swaddling the computer in layer after layer of
bubblewrap. Any other suggestions? I'm also going to be mailing an LCD

Someone also said that FedEx is the best carrier for shipping
something delicate.


Re: How to ship a computer?

Iz wrote:

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I have successfully shipped Sun computers (without monitor) within CONUS
and over to Germany several times.   The machine was put in solid shell
packing box, surrounded by about 4" of fairly stiff foam which had been
cut to fit.  It was checked through as excess bagage on airlines.  And
toted around on a cheap travel dolly to the trunk of cars.

No damage was every detected.  Hardisks never failed to come up.  Cables
never became disconnected.  Just no problems inspite of all the bouncing

Sometimes the airlines just ignored the 86 lb box.   Lufthansa/United
chareged me $100 once from Frankfurt to Boston.  Other times I had to
pay $50.  Onetime I had to send it by FedEx and it cost $300 each way,
not to mention the hassle and paperwork.

Re: How to ship a computer?

On Sun, 24 Apr 2005 14:31:14 -0400, "William W. Plummer"

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Ouch just buy a notebook and take in on with you.

Re: How to ship a computer?

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I wonder if this is still an option with current security rules. At the
least, I would imagine it would have to be opened and inspected so everyone
is certain its not something bad packed inside a case with various
electronic components.

Re: How to ship a computer?

Kev wrote:
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Actually, once the packing crate with the computer got delivered to a
spot near the carousels, but was just left in the middle of the floor!
Wow.  $30K of hardware and they didn't care at all.  But everything
turned out well.

I was inspected and had to open the box once upon returning from
Germany.  The inspector wanted to know "what is is the box?" and I told
him.   Next, "Who do you work for, Microsoft?" .   "No, USAF."   He let
me pass immediately.

Nowadays they will probably want to have the crate open so they can run
a sniffer over it.   I don't think it would be a big inconvenience if
you keep this in mind when you are packing.

Re: How to ship a computer? says...
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Take it to Mailboxes Etc. or the like and have them pack it for you. And
then get insurance.

Re: How to ship a computer?

"Iz" wrote:
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Whatever you do, don't ship it UPS; I wouldn't trust UPS to ship a block of
wood, let alone a computer.

One tip concerns the HSF unit.  I would either fully remove and package
seperately, or make darned sure you find some special way to secure it.
I've seen them detach on several boxes during shipments, and it's not pretty
having them bounce around inside during the journey.


Re: How to ship a computer?

I'd remove the HDD and pack it in my carry on, if I were you...
Everything else can easily be replaced, especially with the insurance
money, but try replacing your data...  At the very least, make a
backup before you pack it up...

Other than that, I'd make sure all expansion cards are seated, the
mother board hasn't vibrated loose, etc...  If your cables aren't
completely tight, wire tie them to some case component (Hard drive
mount, PSU, etc..) so the connectors can't bash into the boards...

If you're using styrofoam peanuts, (or styrofoam anything, for that
matter) place the entire machine in a plastic bag to avoid getting a
chunk of styrofoam breaking off and ending up in your PSU or your
fans...  They will burn...

Good Luck!

Re: How to ship a computer?


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Like anything else, it's somewhat a matter of how
excessively you want to pack it and what size box you have

I always wonder if a box will be left sitting in a downpour
all day long, if there is a potential for that to happen I
put the system in a large waterproof bag first, after
removing the CPU heatsink (if it's modern/large heatsink).
If I remove the heatsink, I also unplug the motherboard
power connector so the system can't start... until someone
opens it to investigate and sees the heatsink is off.

I like to double-box.  It may not be necessary but if you
have two appropriate boxes it can't hurt.  Then I use foam
and/or styrofoam.  I don't trust bubble-wrap for anything
heavy.  If I used the plastic bag, then if I don't have
enough foam or styrofoam, I can add enough (or newspaper) to
keep packing peanuts from shifting around too much, and the
bag keeps the peanuts from getting into the system too.

Note the shipper's packing recommendations too.  If you want
to file a claim for damages you should have followed their
recommendations for packing space around the items.  Figure
out what the maximum size package is you can ship without
getting into the oversized shipping rates category, as
prices to ship climb quite steeply at that point, but before
that point extra padding usually doesn't change shipping
costs much unless it is a very small and light system.

If your HDD has very valuable data on it, (or your time is
valuable) make backups of the data on the drive and consider
removing it and packing it with more padding.  That's
usually not necessary but better to be safe than sorry.

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