Disposable PC

What Does Disposable PC Mean?

A disposable PC is a comparatively inexpensive, full-featured PC that is designed to be discarded instead of being repaired when serious issues occur.


Disposable PCs have the ability to run email, Web browsing and other simple tasks, but they are often criticized for their built-in obsolescence and poor design. In addition, disposable PCs are criticized for the environmental impact created by their disposal.

Because the casing of this type of computer cannot be opened, disposable PCs are also known as sealed-box computers.

Techopedia Explains Disposable PC

A disposable PC has some limitations, as follows:

  • Does not include a Microsoft Windows operating system (OS). Linspire, a Unix system, is provided.
  • Does not include traditional office programs. Instead, they use OpenOffice 1.1.3, a compatible open-source suite.
  • Slow processing speeds
  • Lack of game compatibility
  • Not optimal for running business applications
  • Maintaining critical files may lead to data loss. Regular data backups are recommended.

Although the terms are sometimes interchangeable, a disposable PC is not the same as a disposable computer, which is a small processing device with input/output (I/O) communication capabilities that is frequently used by shipping and pharmaceutical packaging companies.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.