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Buying a Used Computer: 7 Important Things to Consider Before You Buy

New computers are expensive but buying a used computer can have major risks. Besides getting ripped off, it could have malware and spyware installed. The good news is most people won’t steal your identity and just want to sell their old computer.

The key is knowing what computers to buy and what ones to leave behind. When it comes to buying used or refurbished computers, knowledge is power.

Check out these tips and tricks to make sure you’re getting the best deal and not the computer version of a lemon.

1. Buy Used Computers from Trusted Sellers

While the low prices from some guy on Craigslist may tempt you, who knows what you’re getting. If something goes wrong, can you contact him? It’s buyer beware when purchasing electronics from sources like Craigslist and eBay.

Many businesses both brick and mortar and online sell refurbished and used computers. They often come with some type of limited warranty.

A business has a reputation to uphold. Selling bad electronics isn’t good in a world of Yelp and Facebook reviews.

You can contact businesses because they have a presence either physical or online. If you have problems or have another need to contact them, then it’s easier than if you dealt with an individual.

2. Know What You Need

Computers come in all types. Each one has different processing speeds and types, memory and more. It’s important to know what you need before buying a computer.

If you’re working in graphic design or playing high-end games, then you need something with good processing power, a video card and the right type of memory. If you plan on using it to mine bitcoin, then you don’t need something robust.

Does it have Bluetooth connectivity for your headphones? Are there enough USB ports for your mouse and keyboard? Refurbished used computers running Windows 95 won’t be of much to you.

Take the time to know what the least requirements you’ll need and make sure whatever you look at has them.

3. Do Pricing Comparisons

If a computer is used or refurbished, it doesn’t mean it’s a deal. A computer that’s a few years old decreases in value, but the person selling it may not know what a good price is for it. You don’t want to pay new computer prices for a used one.

Research online and see what computers of comparable power sell for new. If the price difference is more than what you see online, then keep looking.

Also, be careful of the fast or desperate sell. If the buyer wants an immediate decision or pressures you to decide, be careful. They could be trying to get rid of a lemon fast before you realize what you bought.

4. Check Laptop Battery Life

One of the biggest reasons why people sell their laptops is because the battery isn’t working well. Make sure to look at the laptop and unplug it to see how fast the battery drains. You don’t want to buy a laptop on the cheap only to find out three minutes off the charger it dies.

If it does die, then check to see how much a new battery costs and how easy it is to get. Many older models may have discontinued battery packs. If the battery is bad and you still want the computer, then have the current owner lower the price.

People buy laptops to take them anywhere from the classroom to the coffee shop. A power source isn’t always available.

5. Give it A Good Once Over

It’s important to never buy a computer without testing it out first. Power it up and open a browser and few tabs to see how it handles load times. If it’s a computer for graphic designs, open a photo and see how it handles booting and use.

It’s important to know there are no errors on boot-up or random shutdowns when opening or using programs. A computer that can’t handle open a few programs or has issues with the operating system isn’t worth the trouble of buying.

Your used computer should work from start to finish. It’s suggested to let a computer run for 30 minutes before making a buying determination. Even the best-used computers need to prove their worth.

6. Ask About Refunds

If you buy from an individual, then it’s unlikely you’ll get a refund. The computer is likely sold as-is. If you purchased a refurbished computer from a business, then ask about their return policy. Do they guarantee operation for a set period?

If they don’t offer a return policy, then make sure everything is good on it before leaving the store. Used computers still need to work. If something happens that isn’t expected such as a program not running, consistent errors, etc., then contact the business you bought it from.

If they won’t accept a return, see if they can examine it and see what’s causing the problem.

7. Run Antivirus as Soon as Possible

Even if the computer has been set to factory conditions, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Download an antivirus program and scan the computer. Viruses and malware are persistent and could be hiding.

It’s possible the seller installed something malicious. Don’t take any chances and run antivirus before you install any programs, use any passwords, etc.

It likely won’t find anything. When it comes to identity theft and theft of personal information, there’s no such thing as too cautious.

Buying a Used Computer Can Be a Great Investment

You can find some great deals when buying a used computer. If you don’t have the money for a high-end new computer, then finding a used computer saves you money. Be careful what you buy.

If you follow these tips, then you’ll get a good computer that may last you for several years. If you want to learn more about where to buy used computers or recycling your used computers, then explore our website.