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Submission + - Handling an inherited house full of technology 3

Dewin writes: My father-in-law passed away earlier this year, leaving my wife as the executor of an estate including a house full of all sorts of hardware. There's a wide variety here — at least a half dozen computers and monitors (all LCDs, thankfully), mixing boards, a karaoke system, and a home networking setup with in-wall CAT5 wiring and no fewer than 3 wireless access points in addition to other networking hardware.

No one person is assigned specific items from the estate. It's a percentage share among the heirs, who are all (thankfully) on good terms with each other. Thus, we have some leeway in making decisions.

With that all in mind, we have the following questions:
  1. What's the best way to assess a value for all of the hardware in the house, and how do we determine what is worth keeping, what's worth selling, and what's just junk?
  2. Dozens of computers means dozens of harddisks, some of which probably hold interesting data either from an legal standpoint or a historical one. I'd like to find a way to aggregate all this data in one place quickly, ideally without having to look over each harddrive's contents or copying things like OS files.
  3. Is there any reason why I shouldn't just factory-reset all of the routers and reconfigure them to be in a known state (especially considering we lack the current admin passwords)? Considering I cannot get into the administrative interfaces for them currently, is there anything I should take note of first? There's nothing critical that we need running on the network that would break.
  4. I suspect the in-wall wiring is too old to support gigabit ethernet speeds, but I'd like to test (and possibly address that) if possible. Any tips?

We are on a fairly tight budget, so while purchases are an option we'd like to keep them fairly cheap and ideally something that will continue to be useful after the fact. Thanks!

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