Buying A Used Computer: How To Avoid Being Burned?
April 22, 2005 12:53 PM   Subscribe

When buying a used computer from a all sales are final location, what do you check and how do you check it?

I'm thinking of buyind a used computer from a company's closing sale. I'm wondering. Is there a set of tools, test or applications to check what the hardware is and if it's still working? I know I can get a linux boot disk with memtest on it but are there other tips, tricks and such I should be aware of?
posted by cm to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
 
You should look for yellow question marks in the device manager under Control Panel --> System.

Driver issues and conflicts are such a pain.
posted by scarabic at 12:57 PM on April 22, 2005


Other than memtest, make sure it's not overclocked (look at the engraving on the actual CPU, and be wary if it's covered up with a sticker. I've seen this a number of times.) Do a surface test on the HD.
posted by ori at 1:22 PM on April 22, 2005


I make sure it boots and doesn't make funny noises.

You sure you're not better off building your own?
posted by trevyn at 6:00 PM on April 22, 2005


If possible, try booting the machine with a Knoppix disc. If it detects all the hardware and doesn't display funky errors, you might as well take it home.
posted by odinsdream at 6:42 PM on April 22, 2005


It depends how much it costs... desktops are pretty cheap these days new.. It would almost seem unwise to not go with something you can be sure of.

Of course there are always factory refurbished machines that you could potentially consider that seem to do very well.
I have friends who are happy with their Dell Refurbs.
posted by Quami77 at 6:57 PM on April 22, 2005


Try running Doom or Quake. The old ones, not the new ones. We used to do that to burn in systems.

That being said, I wouldn't buy a used computer unless it was almost free. In which case, I would buy a few and not worry about testing them.

New computers can be had for *very* cheap these days.
posted by bh at 5:01 AM on April 23, 2005


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