Tips from a collector with 25 years of experience on slowing inevitable decay.

My name is Benj Edwards, and I am a journalist who specializes in technology history. To inform me in my quest to understand and preserve historical electronic devices, I have been collecting computers and video game consoles for almost a quarter century. In the process of dealing with hundreds of different types of computers, game consoles, and media players, I have built up quite a bit of practical knowledge and experience about what it takes to keep them running (or merely stable) in the long term.

Decay and decomposition are part of nature. Weather, bugs, fungus, and microorganisms take their toll, chemical bonds break apart, and physical damage (drops, falls, cave-ins) can occur. Let’s just call it entropy. As living things, we are always fighting against a state of disorder in the universe, and that goes for everything we create as well.

If you follow these tips, you’ll already be a step ahead of entropy as it tries to break down and destroy your prized electronic devices. We may never be able to halt the decay process entirely, but we can at least slow it down so that future generations can have a better understanding of the gadgets that shaped the world we live in.

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