Buying a used computer can save you a lot of money, it can also cost you a lot of money.
Buying a used Notebook (Laptop) computer
This is by far the most risky computer to purchase second hand, I would always be very reluctant to buy a second hand notebook.
Notebook computers can be purchased for as little as ?300 new, buying a second hand one you can pay as little as ?150 with loads of software installed (SONY VGP-BPS8 battery) .
Buying a second hand notebook you are totally at the mercy of the person selling the notebook, there may be a fault that is intermittent and the seller just wants to get rid of it quickly before the fault becomes more permanent, they may have already had a quote and the quote can often be more than the value of the notebook, a system board or LCD can cost as much or sometimes more than ?600 each to replace (Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery) .
The software included may be very expensive but you cant take that into consideration when purchasing a notebook, you need to know that the software is legal, you need to know that it was received from a reliable source and you need the license to go with it, using illegal software leaves you open to prosecution, although unlikely at a personal level is it a gamble you are prepared to take (SONY VGP-BPS8 battery) ?
If you are interested in purchasing a second hand computer there are a few checks you can take to minimise any chance of being sold a dud (Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery) .
1/ Ask the seller why he/she is selling, you need to use your judgement to decide if the reason is a good reason or if they are just trying to fob you off (Sony VGP-BPL11 battery) .
2/ Do not buy from a person who will not allow you to go to their home to test it, buying from a friend in a pub is very risky and if they are asking for a very low price the chances are it is stolen (Sony VGP-BPL9 battery) .
3/ Ask to see proof of purchase or warranty details to ensure it is not a stolen computer, police have the right to seize stolen goods (Sony VGN-FZ460E battery) .
4/ Check for physical damage, cracked screens, damaged plastics on corners, loose or worn display hinges, check the screws and screw holes for excessive scratches, push down keyboard keys and look underneath a shiny or dark residue can almost guarantee a drinks spillage and must be avoided at all costs (SONY VAIO VGN-FZ4000 Battery) .
5/ Run the notebook from the battery for a good length of time and do some high activity task such as defragmenting or scandisk on the hard disk, this will test the battery and the state of the hard disk as well as many system board processes, bare in mind that doing high activity tasks the battery will not last anywhere near the manufacturer quoted time, if it last 30 minutes you will be doing OK (sony vgp-bpl9 battery) .
6/ If the computer has software included as part of the sale ask for the activation keys and license certificates for each piece of software included, sometimes this information is physically stuck to the equipment (Sony VGP-BPL11 battery) .
7/ Running diagnostics software will not guarantee that the computer is good, diagnostics software will only show a fault if it is in a fault state, it may not show an intermittent fault (Sony VGP-BPL15 battery) .
8/ believe your gut instinct, if something doesn’t feel right walk away, if a deal seems too good to be true it probably is (Dell Vostro 1000 battery) .