The Eerie World of Abandoned Computers

March 15th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

The Eerie World of Abandoned Computers Slideshow on

Up now on PCMag is a slideshow I created about derelict computers and urban exploration. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

In the heart of civilization lie places abandoned. For whatever reason, people retreat from these spaces entirely, leaving behind unintentional time capsules filled with objects and equipment from another era, including computers.

You’ll find a number of abandoned vintage computers included in the piece, so I thought VC&G readers might enjoy it.

I’d like to give special thanks to all the photographers who let me use their amazing photos in the slideshow. It’s a shame the images don’t show up bigger in the layout like those in my older PCMag slideshows (not my choice). Even with smaller images, the emotional impact of seeing decaying and abandoned technology is still there.

Have you ever encountered a totally abandoned computer left somewhere to rot for all time? Tell us about it.

12 Responses to “The Eerie World of Abandoned Computers”

  1. Donn Says:

    My brother-in-law went to the local dump a few years ago, and found where the e-waste gets stacked a perfectly good PowerMac G4 tower. Even had RAM in it, just needed a hard drive. Who knows what caused it to be abandoned, but I resuscitated it for him.

    How much computer equipment gets abandoned due to ignorance and inability to troubleshoot?

  2. SirPaul Says:

    It’s almost sad to see these computers, without a home or anyone to love. It’s also sad to see the computers that are just dumped wherever people can find a place to dump them off. It almost makes me wonder if I can potentially make a beowulf cluster just by dumpster-diving. Probably not, but I can dream…

  3. DNA Says:

    “How much computer equipment gets abandoned due to ignorance and inability to troubleshoot?”

    Far too much I’d wager.

  4. The Doctor Says:

    How much computer equipment gets abandoned due to ignorance and inability to troubleshoot?

    You call it abandonment, I call it cheap upgrades to my lab.

  5. jdiwnab Says:

    In my high school, there was a garage that contained all the stuff people didn’t want. There where lots of old macs (Mac Color, Mac Plus), plenty of monitors and other miscellaneous stuff. Most of the room was taken up by scrap wood, chairs, and such, but the ground was covered by computer stuff. We tried to reclaim it, but the bureaucracy had other plans, and a few months after asking about it, the whole huge room was emptied suddenly. Maybe to the dumpster, maybe auctioned. But gone.

    Another, much smaller, room in the school wasn’t under the control of the bureaucracy, and had tons of old stuff. A boxed version of Logo, some Pascal compiler new in box. A 486 with Sim City (we rocked this on the projector). A pen plotter. Some video editing gear. I think we found a spray painting station hiding in the back. It was an awesome exploration of just the room next door.

  6. technotreegrass Says:

    I grew up playing with Apple ][ computers at school until 1996 when Gateway PCs were purchased for every classroom. Three years later, just before I was to graduate, I snuck down to the basement to visit the old music and band classrooms before they were moved upstairs. The rooms were FULL of the old Apple ][ comps. I went to the principal, happy to purchase one just so I could keep playing the old games (even happy just to take a black-and-white monitor, even though there was also green-and-black and color) But I was denied, the comps just had to stay where they were for some reason. I have no idea if they are there to this day.

  7. Cody Says:

    I really loathe these slideshows; the technology has been around for years to flip the picture by clicking on the thumbnails, but some sites still insist on refreshing the whole page, losing your place, forcing you to scroll down and find your spot again on the thumbnail treadmill.


  8. Reverend Sean Says:

    L@@K at all those RARE VINTAGE computers just waiting to be auctioned off!

  9. Zach Says:

    Both the numbingly slow design of that slideshow and the pictures in it bring to mind the stunning wastefulness of technological “progress” and our society in general. Especially the bags full of relatively new iMacs abandoned in a basement…

  10. Casey Castille Says:

    This reminds me of photos of Chernobyl, twenty years after the fact. Deliciously eerie.

  11. Andrew Thomas Says:

    I volunteer with Carolinas Aviation Museum. We were givin permission to take supplise out of a hanger that was going to be torn down to pave a runway. I picked up a few items for myself that would have otherwise been forgotten about and plowed over. Amoung them were two floppy disc and an external floppy drive with a pcmcia style cable. I still use it today. For the floppy dics I could ony get data off of one, some kind of navigational coordinates that I cant make out.

  12. Thomas Says:

    I was in a abandoned hotel in Birmingham and I remember on one of the floors were the elevators were, I saw what i believe are IBM 3340 storage drives, also a lot of old schools i have been to have rooms filled with Apple IIe’s and one of them had a bunch ibm xt systems laying around.I bet that non of them work any more since it is so humid, but you never know.

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