Would You Buy a Used Computer? - Comments Page 1

Category: Hardware




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Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
20 Apr 2020

Not "buying", but was recently approched by the director of an education establishment.
He had been offered a number of used computers after the local consulate closed down, should we accept them ? Could they be used ?
So we jumprd on the oportunity, the HDs were blanked with DBAN, new system (PCLinuxOS) installed, and they are now in self-service for the students in the library.
Cost: Nothing but my time.
Risk: Null, after blanking HD and installing new OS.
Satisfaction: Enormous ;-3)

PS DBAN for HD blanking: https://dban.org/

Posted by:

Joan in Dallas
20 Apr 2020

My wife has purchased used computers from Discount Electronics (based in Austin, Texas) and has not had any problems with them. They purchase used equipment from businesses that are upgrading, refurbish it and sell it at very reasonable prices. For example, my wife bought a Dell Latitude laptop with 8 gigs of RAM and a solid state hard drive for around $300. And it was delivered, free, the day after she ordered it - which was perfect because she was told to start working from home the next day!

Posted by:

hifi5000
20 Apr 2020

Yes,the first thing I do when a get a used computer is wipe the hard drive,usually with Darik's DBan.That usually wipes the drive to my satisfaction.You don't know what the previous owner did on that machine.

Any Windows install that was on there is lost,but I use Linux on all my machines anyway.

As for used printers,you might want to reset the printer to its factory defaults.Any strange settings would be lost.

Posted by:

Robert Hicks
20 Apr 2020

I too have been a customer of Discount Electronics in Austin, Texas. I have purchased a Dell laptop and other electronic hardware from them. Their 1 year warranty on the computers and reasonable warranty on the hardware make them hard to beat. Their customer service is great as well and the shipping is reasonable and fast. Great people to deal with.

Posted by:

Howard Kay
20 Apr 2020

Even though thumb drives are cheap enough to make it sensible to buy a new thumb drive....how about booting in safe mode? Then you could erase everything on the thumb drive, check the hard disk, etc.

Posted by:

Linda
20 Apr 2020

The best computer I have ever bought is the one I am currently using, a HP laptop I bought refurbished and warranted from Refurbees. It is a high-end laptop that was used in business. I could never afford to buy one of this caliber new, but used, I got it for a deal. I would buy from Refurbees again.

Posted by:

Lucy
20 Apr 2020

No, never. I would not buy a used computer, peripheral, USB drive, or smart phone.

I'll go one step further, and I apologize in advance to computers repair guys and gals, if my computer breaks, I'll abandon it and buy a brand new one. If the new one did not work after I had used it in any way, I would not get it fixed, I would abandon it and eat the loss and buy another new one.

Hard drives etc., are destroyed per Bob's suggestions in other articles.


Oh, and by the way, that new computer I buy has to still be totally sealed in its box. I'll inspect the seal really carefully before completing the purchase.


Yes, I am super careful, but that is how I sleep at night!

Posted by:

Bob Brooke
20 Apr 2020

I am currently using what I think is the sixth refurbished Dell computer. All have come fully loaded and completely clean. I upgraded to another computer each time for the additional power and memory it provided. However, I'd recommend that anyone who is a complete novice to computer use buy a new machine. I know a good bit about computers and use them daily in my work as a professional writer. Refurbished equipment is good if you purchase from a reliable source. Don't purchase a used computer from a private individual on eBay or Craigslist. Only purchase one from a reputable dealer, even on eBay---one that deals in them all the time. BTW, I've been reading Bob's newsletter for over 20 years.

Posted by:

Emily Booth
20 Apr 2020

I've purchased 2 refurbished iMacs and would do so again. The 1st one came from a California reseller. I saved quite a bit of $$ at a time when I couldn't spare much. The 2nd Mac came from Apple. It's 10 years old. I'm very happy.

Posted by:

BillP
20 Apr 2020

I volunteer at thriftstore of a homeless shelter. On donated computers, i sanitize the hard drive with Killdisk by Active@, using a US Department of Defense method that removes everything, partitions and all. Then i install a fresh version of Windows 10, downloaded from Microsoft. If it activates (practically all the time), it can be re-used. If it doesn't activate, which is rare, the hardware just gets recycled.

Posted by:

MartinW
20 Apr 2020

Of my three main laptops, the oldest (Toshiba - bought new) needed a new hard drive within three years. After that replacement it now works fine. The newest (Lenovo - bought new one and a half years ago) is currently sitting, waiting for a new hard drive. The middle-aged one (ASUS - bought refurbished) has never experienced a problem. Luck seems to play a part, but I have no problem buying refurbished as long as the dealer is reputable. Please DO take precautions, as Bob outlined.

Posted by:

mike
20 Apr 2020

This topic is rather like the foolish people who just have to have the latest release of the iPhone. Of course to some people money simply is not an issue and they are blindly willing to spend way more than necessary. If they would simply look around, it is likely they would find an equal or better performer at much lower pricing.

Personally, I think all the computer manufacturers are overpriced and I have always found a better value and performance for about half the price by wisely doing some research. I have never yet regretted doing so.

Posted by:

Cho
20 Apr 2020

Used computer? No problem.. Airgap it, fire it up, run Belarc (or similar) from your own install USB.
Harvest Install keys, wipe it all, reinstall OS with the harvested key.
Enjoy..

Posted by:

JimM
20 Apr 2020

For almost 10 years I have been using a refurbished Dell Optiplex that I bought on Amazon for $89 including monitor and keyboard. It has without doubt been the best computer I've ever owned. Perhaps it's mostly because my demands are few. Since the upgrade to W/10 it has slowed considerably and I will probably replace it. But I have never regretted purchasing it.

Posted by:

John
20 Apr 2020

WHAT, you say "overly negative"? That's a massive understatement, Bob!! Anyway, I've purchased numerous used Mac desktops and laptops and NEVER had an issue at all. All were purchased from a very large reseller here in California. All were apparently 'cleaned', refurbished and given a warranty. However, in every case, I had them remove the hard drive and replace with an SSD of equal or larger capacity. On one, I even had them remove the latest Mac OS and replace it with a previous version, the result of my own unwillingness to be the guinea pig for a recent Mac OS 'update'. At the same time, I've purchased many new Macs for myself and family as well, especially so when a 'deal' came along.

Posted by:

Paul
20 Apr 2020

@BillP No need to run wiper programs on used hard drives, just boot the OS install from a flash drive and delete all the partitions before OS install using diskpart or the OS install screen. With regard to phones and smart devices, there is usually a way to reset them to factory settings, so just do that.

Posted by:

Granville Alley
20 Apr 2020

I recently bought my wife a "factory refurbished" Apple iMac 27" 5K, with 1 TB SSD, i7 Processor and their top graphics card.

It cost me $600 less than the identical "New" iMac and they threw in the extended wireless keyboard and a track pad along with the standard Magic Mouse.

I have never had a problem buying this kind of gear. With Apple, it is almost inevitably cancelled or returned special orders they can no longer sell as "New" under Federal Warranty Law.

The iMac came with not only the full factory warranty but they bundled 3 Years of Applecare with it. This is not as huge a bargain as some private sellers might offer, but I know it is from Apple directly, I have 3 Years of AppleCare Support and she has a great new computer that will run for many years to come.

I have also bought MacBook Pro's and other iMac's for my business "refurbished" both directly from Apple and from Authorized Apple Dealers. I have yet to have had a problem and have yet to not gotten a good deal on the very latest hardware.

It sometimes takes a week or two of shopping to get exactly what you want - you have to wait for a returned or rejected order - but if you are patient (or plan ahead) you can usually get exactly the configuration you want.

I have found that if you shop at Back-To-School time you will usually find an excellent selection of gear parents and grandparents bought their kids which turned out not to be exactly what they wanted so it was returned - often unopened.

I understand clearly your concerns, but the iMac I got my wife replaced the last active Windows Computer in our home and we are far happier and have far fewer issues with an exclusively Apple environment.

The Mac's work seamlessly with our other Apple Gear, iPad Pro's, iPhones, Apple Watches, Apple TV and Air Pod's Pro. Sharing Data, devices, content is easy and as I move from device to device nearly all my software carries the latest changes I have made to content with me.

My Business has been Apple Only except for some Oracle/Sun Servers & storage and we have experienced nothing but smooth operations since we made the change over exclusively 5 years ago. My employees are much more satisfied with the Apple Gear and we have found that our total cost of ownership is significantly less than when we had a mixed or a windows only environment.

I have 700+ Users on my company network, btw. The very few software applications that have to run in a Window's Environment (we are a small Aerospace Manufacturing Company) due to DOD, Supplier or Customer requirements run just fine using Bootcamp or Parallels to run Windows.

OSX is basically an enhanced UNIX Software so our engineering software also runs great.

But back to the point, my experience has been very good with Apple Factory Refurbished Gear and I save quite a bit of money over our Enterprise Corporate Pricing by choosing it.

One Last thought also slightly off topic. My Apple Watch saved my life last October when it identified Afib, when I had never had Heart Disease signs previously. My Primary Care Physician has told me that because I had, had Severe Pneumonia twice in the past 3 years without the Apple Watch flagging it he would have assumed I was having that again.

Instead he sent me straight to a local emergency room where they did an echo-cardiogram and then sent me straight on to a regional hospital with a Cardiac Department. I had less than 20% heart function at the time. I was treated with two stents and my new cardiologist tells me that any delay of treatment of my Congestive Heart Failure would have almost certainly killed me.

I had no prior indications of heart disease, extremely low cholesterol and other indicators. So I am perhaps rightfully prejudiced towards Apple Gear.

Bob, I appreciate greatly your advice in general but in this instance, I have to marginally disagree at least as to factory refurbished Apple Gear.

Posted by:

Robert A.
20 Apr 2020

HP and Dell both have an on-line department that sell tons of off-lease computers from businesses that use dozens, if not hundreds of computers in their offices, for three or four years, and then replace the fleet with new units, once the lease expired. HP and Dell send those used computers to a third-party "remanufacturer," that opens up, inspects and cleans every tower, and, according the computer makers, wipe the HDD and reinstall the latest version of Windows 10, either Home, or, more often, the Pro version, depending on which version was originally installed on the computer at the factory.

The prices vary from about 200 to 300 dollars to 500 to 700 dollars, depending on the age of the computer, the chip speed, and the performance level of the chip - an I3, an I5 or I7, from Intel, or a similar version chip from AMD. and the overall condition of the tower cabinet. Keyboards and mice are often not included in the price, as those pieces usually are well-worn and dirty, after years of use, and are generally junked-out by the remanufacturer. However, it is easy to find new, basic corded keyboard and mouse bundles, from Logitech or Microsoft, and others, available from Amazon, Best Buy, Office Depot, New Egg, Micro Center and Costco, etc., for usually under $30.00.

The biggest issue on these refurbished units is the HDDs, which, beside being a possible repository for viruses and malware, is that they may be near the end of their useful lives, especially if they saw heavy use by their former users. And many of the original HDDs may be of low capacity, 250 or 500 GB units, when the default standard for HDDs in most new desktop computers is a 1TB unit. But since the advent and rise in popularity of solid-state drives, (SSDs) the older HDDs units have fallen in price, so much so that a 1TB unit from Western Digital or Seagate, can usually be purchased for under $50.00, or a newer, faster responding HDD can be bought for well under $125.00. If one is lucky enough to buy a refurbished computer that still has the genuine Microsoft Windows serial number sticker attached to the cabinet, one could replace the old HDD with a new, fresh unit, and using the serial number from the Windows sticker, can download a legitimate, up-to-date version of Windows 10, direct from Microsoft. It is a simple, relatively quick procedure, and there are dozens of YouTube videos available that will take the viewer through a step-by-step procedure to accomplish that goal.

Posted by:

Jon
20 Apr 2020

Bought a MacBook Air over a decade ago direct from Apple. It was described as a return that Apple checked out. No problems.

Posted by:

Paul C
20 Apr 2020

In the past ten years I've purchased 3 used laptops(Toshiba), 1 Chromebook(love it) and received a free lenovo laptop. I replaced all hdd 's with ssd's and all computers have run without any serious flaws.
The BIGGEST problem is WINDOWS10, I hate it and dont use it.

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