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Choosing Used Computers

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Used Computers:
5 Tips For Making The Right Choice In Refurbished Laptops and Desktops


1) Know What You Want To Do

It's easy to scan the ebay listings for used computers. And of course you want it now. But before you jump on the first great deal, consider your needs 12 months out. Most used computer systems are upgradeable, but the older the machine, the less likely you’ll be able to add on the newest technology. And since there are limits to any design, do some planning.

Whether you are shopping for used computers, you dont want to buy short. So it’s best not to buy ‘cheap’, thinking you can easily upgrade everything later. Some older computer equipment just isn't worth the trouble. So if you think you might need it later, add growing room now by getting a bit more CPU power and storage.

2)  Choose The Operating System and Software

Many mistakenly put Step #3 first. The CPU is not “the brains” - the OS and software drive your CPU and hardware, not the reverse. Software does the ‘thinking’, and hardware carries out the instructions. For used computers, this is even more important to remember.

So pick your software first. List out the applications you want to run, along with how much processor and storage they’ll need.

3 ) Match The Hardware To The Software

Consider whether you’ll need a current Win XP, or can settle for another version. Don’t forget that many of the lowest cost used PCs do not come with an Operating System. So if you can load an OS you already have, you’ll save even more money.

Or buy it the software new with full documentation. Don’t cut costs by buying the “minimum hardware requirements” on the software box. Crank it up a notch, and you’ll be much happier for only a few dollars more.

4) Pay Attention To Service and Support

Unless you do your own tinkering, the warranty, tech support, and return policies are not to be ignored. Most used computers come with a minimum of a 90 day warranty.

All of the sources I recommend have a warranty, and most offer some kind of tech support. Whether it’s via telephone or email, be sure you have some way to contact a seller who can help with a problem. For this reason, I do not recommend buying a used computer on auction sites.

5) Just Do It !

Compared to brand new computers, the stock of used computers is very limited. Refurbished laptops are even more scarce. Even the largest dealers may have only a few in stock. So don’t wait. If you see one that does what you want, and it has what you need, get it.

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