Guide to buying a used laptop computer from another person.


Ok, so I’ve put together a little guide with
some tips on buying a used computer, particularly a laptop, from another individual. Lets get
right to it! OK, so here are some serious red flags that
should have you walking away from any transaction. If they want you to wire them money by western
union or pay by paypal and have them ship it to you. Shipping is fine if you are buying
off of eBay but never pay by western union, only use paypal. A missing power adapter is a big red flag.
This usually means one of three things. The most likely case is that the computer was
stolen and they simply never got the power adapter with it. Another possibility is that
they actually DO have the power cord but they pretend they lost it because the computer
just doesn’t work, or there is something that they don’t want you to see. So it is easier
for them to just say “Hey man, you can just buy a new power cord on eBay for $15.” Don’t
fall for this. If you can’t power it on, don’t buy it. Here’s another problem. If you turn
on the computer and it has a password, then you ask the seller what the password is and
he doesn’t know. This also likely means the computer is stolen. He’ll try to convince
you that you can send it back to the manufacturer to have the password cleared. But as soon
as they run the serial number and see that it is stolen they will ship it back to the
original owner. So don’t fall for this either! And I guess I’ll throw this in too. Anything
that sounds too good to be true, probably is, especially if the seller seems in a hurry
to sell it. So if you are buying locally and you can inspect
the computer then you should take a few minutes to test it out. You’d do the same thing if
buying a used car. Bring a CD or DVD with you. Make sure it is one you don’t care about.
Stick it in the computer and make sure it can read it. I know it isn’t always possible,
but see if you can connect to something with wireless. Typically if the computer can actually
see some wireless stations even if you don’t know the password this generally means the
WiFi is working. Try turning up the volume and make sure the speakers work. While you’re
at it, connect some headphones to the computer and make sure you can hear through those on
both speakers. Also try jiggling it around a bit. Often these jacks get broken when somebody
trips on a cable and as a result the jack will work intermittantly. You should test
the webcam. On a MacBook just open up photobooth for a quick test. The Power connector. If
you have a MacBook with the mag-safe connector, you can probably skip this. But if it is a
Windows PC with a jack like this, these get damaged all of the time by people tripping
over cables. So make sure it works and try jiggling it around a bit to see if it has
a good connection. Check the USB ports. Mostly what you are looking for are ones that are
broken from somebody yanking a cable out sideways. Check the screen hinges. The screen should
stay open on its own at any angle without falling. It should be very sturdy. If it seems
loose it is probably because the hinges are damaged. Also make sure the screen doesn’t
flicker when moving the screen back and forth, this could be a sign of damaged cables internally.
You should check the battery. On Apple products you can go to the system profiler and see
how many cycles the battery has been through. If it is more than 400 you know the battery
is at the end of its life. If it is 600 or more, its probably just about dead. One last
thing, check the keyboard. Open something like notepad and just try out every key. See
if any of them feel sticky or fail to type the character to the screen. I’m not saying
you shouldn’t buy a computer if one or more of these things turns out to be broken. Just
make sure you know what you are getting. So then you ask, is it a good deal? Well,
in order to determine its value you’re really going to need to get the exact model number.
Then you should be able to determine its age, which is very important. I’ve created a chart
here to sort of help you. Anything older then 3 years is starting to become out of date,
but should still be useable for most things. Once you get around 7 to 8 years old, the
computer is totally obsolete and should probably be avoided unless you know exactly what you
are dealing with. You can also check eBay’s completed listings. I don’t mean live listings,
but ones that have actually already sold. This way you can see not what people are asking
for the computer, but what they have actually sold for. Also factor in any warranty. If
the seller is backing it with a full money back guarantee, then that is always worth
something. You should also investigate what a brand-new computer costs. Pawn shops are
notorious about overpricing used equipment, knowing that the buyer will automatically
assume it is a good deal because it is used. In many cases you can buy a brand new one
for the same price or even cheaper. I’d also like to point out that after you
buy a used computer, you should probably consider wiping the hard drive and completely re-installing
all of the software. Here’s several good reasons why. The computer could be infected with viruses
or other malicious software. It could contain porn or even worse child porn, which could
land you in prison if found on your computer. It could have spyware that the seller put
there so they can watch what you do online or activate your webcam and snap nude photos
of you. It could contain pirated software, movies, or music which might get you into
trouble. And last but not least, it will probably just run a lot better with a fresh, clean
software load. Well, I hope you found the video useful, I
get inundated with emails from people asking me what I think about a particular deal. They’ll
send me a link to an ebay or craigslist posting and they’ll be like “do you think this is
a good deal?” And to be honest I really just don’t have the time to go look at them. And
even when I do, half the time the auction is already closed by the time I get to look
at it, so there’s really no point in sending those to me. Uh so I put this video together
to try to help people decide for themselves whether they should buy a particular computer
or not. I want to throw in one other little tip, especially if you are buying a mac. There
is a great website, its been around for years. And its called www.everymac.com um if you
go to this website you can pretty much find the detailed specifications of any Apple computer
all that way back into the 1980s and up the current versions are. Now they do have estimated
street price on there, but I wouldn’t go by that. From what I can see their street prices
are always out of date. Uh, they’re usually a bit high. In many cases they are double
what an actual computer is selling for. But if you are just going there for the specifications,
you want to find out what a particular model has, its a great resource. Its also useful
if somebody says “well I’ve got a you know macbook and its this processor speed” well
in many cases you can still use that information to go through there and find out what the
model number is and also find out how old the computer is. So, um, anyway leave me some
comments and tell me what you’d like to see in the next video. And if you happen to live
in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and you’d like to do a joint video with me sometime, let
me know about that too.

100 thoughts on “Guide to buying a used laptop computer from another person.

  1. I just bought a 2011 HP ProBook for £55 and it is great, it is relatively powerful with a Core i5 processor and it works perfectly. It was 7 years old when I bought it and it is definitely not obsolete.

  2. my daily driver is a 2009 13 inch macbook pro with 8gb ram and a 128gb ssd and works fine with original battery and 801 cycles

  3. Pirated software? That's not a deal breaker. That's a plus 😛 nah jk I'll just download my own pirated software from the pirate Bay 😉

  4. You said that if it is 7-8 yrs old it will be obsolete. You can still upgrade at this point if its not a mac.

  5. not knowing the password , what if the unit was just found ? i got 2 laptops for sale had to tear the screens off them , but its ok with ext monitor connected

  6. 3:52 i feel like the "How old is it?" chart is actually out of date itself.

    I have some thinkpads that are now 9 years old. They got some Core2Duo in them and are running windows 7/Windows 8.1 and have around 4 hour battery life. They can handle almost all tasks i'd do on a modern laptop without problem and are way sturdier than some new laptops i got…..

    Just saying that a device is bad because it's old isn't actually that accurate these days.

  7. I have a 10 year old Dell inspiron, and it is far from obsolete. Yes, processors, especially Intel cpu's have come a long way in 10 years (my dell sports a dual core celeron, running at 2ghz) which was pretty good for 10 years ago. And 4GB of ram. But I can honestly say that the Dell runs better than my 1 year old HP laptop, that has 8GB of ram, and a 2.9ghz AMD A9 cpu. So much better in fact, that I am getting rid of the HP, as it is so inefficient, and actually slows me down.
    My Dell btw, is running Windows 10 ultimate, albeit the 32bit version, but it handles Windows 10 with ease, WAY WAY better than the HP. And it is still on its original battery, cpu, motherboard, screen/backlight, optical DVD RW drive etc. The only thing I have replaced is the HDD, and I increased the ram from its original 2GB, to 4GB.
    The HP is a pile of junk, the worst purchase I have ever made. Never again will I waste money on HP products.

  8. How would the authorities know if there is porn/child porn, illegal/pirated software if it isnt even connected to the internet

  9. Interestingly enough, I bought a PowerBook G4 that did not include the charger, however in the pictures they did show it working with the charger plugged into it. When I got it everything seemed ok so I don't know why they coulden't include the charger. My only guess is they have multiple of the laptops but only one charger so they were selling their extra but kept the charger for their personal machine.

  10. I say this obsolete chart applies to most windows computers. this macbook is nine years old and runs 10.9 Mavericks. Luckily firefox supports it so it isn't terribly out of date

    This mac didnt come with an adapter. But it was at goodwill. So if you need a fairly okay/good computer. Go to the electronics section of goodwill. They wipe the drives and most laptops that are on display (that are powered on) come with an adapter

  11. oh wait! This also applies to amazon. I was looking at a 2010 Macbook core 2 duo and I looked closer at the images and it said they were stock images. The seller has good reviews but I don't trust stock images

  12. Magsafe charging circuits fail! More expensive to fix than a broken connector.
    Be sure to scan the hard disk for bitcoin wallets and such before you format it. Do it from a Linux Live USB. (Thats a regular flash drive with some software you put on it, google is your friend)

  13. 5:15 wow the windows 10 on my syster's laptop is pirated and my games and music too because i don't want to pay and piracy is awolled in Bulgaria. I think America isn't the nation of liberty,Bulgaria is the nation of liberty. I even saw a commodore pet and ibook g3 clamshell on the river and old tvs at the end of the road

  14. i just bought a used dell e7240 for $265 at my local store have to change one time because the first one has problem with ethernet port and space bar.The second ones beside a little bit noise on the hinge, others thing work ok so far. I think you should check carefully when buying a used laptop but dont be too picky !

  15. I'm not in the Dallas Area, but I'd love to do a Joint Video, maybe over Google Hangouts or something. I do Windows and Linux tech videos, and all kinds of other videos. My email is found in the about section of my channel. Thanks, and may Jesus bless you!

  16. Another great battery tip on a Mac – see at 3:20 where it says "Full charge capacity: 5061mAh" – You can compare this number against the factory spec (I use the coconutbattery app because it pulls that number up too automatically, but you can also run the command in terminal: ioreg -w0 -l | fgrep -e MaxCapacity -e DesignCapacity ). That way you can see whether it has say, 90% of its original capacity (great for a few years old) or say, 30%. Since the cycle count can't always predict how good or bad it is. In this case it has 5061 out of its original 5600 – so that's 90% – not bad at all for a computer that was 6 years old when this video came out! Even though the cycle count looks high, this battery has obviously been treated well and I'd feel confident buying it.

  17. I got a 750 euro laptop for 45 euros. They wanted me to wire the money straight to their account and i did. I though i would be scammed but i have the laptop. It was too good to be true but it was true

  18. I got a computer (hp sff 3030 8gb or ram intel core i3 3.06 ghz with a genuine windows 7 it was 150 dollars i got it for my birthday from my dad since i have no credit card the new price was around 200 to 350 I'm planning to get a nnivida card from ebay 1gb yes it is compatible and im going to upgrade to win 8.1 soon maybe a upgrade hard drive from a 500gb to 1 750gb ssd

  19. Illegal files? How they will determine it? DRM free is not illegal. So, copyright extremists can go fuck themselves.

  20. The replacing the storage unit is probably the best thing you can do, one you get more space and two you can use a better suited OS than what it came with making it a win-win reason.

  21. 4:03 wait so my 2012 MacBook Air is obsolete? But it runs fine on Mac OS Mojave sooo
    Is it obsolete?

    Edit:whoops it was a 2014 MacBook Air

  22. Two months ago, the WiFi cable on my laptop (HP) was damaged and I purchased another HP (Elitebook 840) from a technician. Prior to the transaction, I did inspect the laptop which is in good condition, although the memory was no good and the hard drive was 320gigs. When I turned on the computer, the operating system functioned wonderfully. The upgrades I made were with the memory (16 gigs of RAM) and the hard drive (1 TB SSD). To keep my laptop running, I have Webroot Antivirus and Malware Bites installed and run Disk Cleaner to clean up any junk files.

  23. Hello i have an alienware r4 17
    Gtx 1070 laptop
    I7 6th generation
    16ram
    Windows 10
    1t hdd
    250 ssd
    How do i sell it i used it for almost 2 years

  24. 3:53 yet here i am using a 11-year-old asus laptop that's running like it never has (core i5, nvidia geforce gt540m 2GB)

  25. computers can get obsolete so quick. Like when the PowerPC Macs were replaced by Intel Core Duos and Core Solos they became instantly obsolete. Usable, but not very up to date. Same thing when the Core 2 Duo was introduced. The Core Duo became obsolete in late 2006 and apple officially stopped making 32 bit software in 2011

  26. Another good tool for testing the screen is DeadPixelBuddy. That's for Windows, there is of course a Mac equivalent. I used it when choosing my first HP laptop brand new in the store back in 2006.

  27. also just power off and on the computer a few times. A friend of mine bought a macbook and it won't boot up if you power it off completely. It's not a big deal, the battery can keep it alive for a while when in sleep mode so my friend just closes the lid, and keeps it charged. we found a fix though : if ever the computer turns off (it can reboot, no problem, it won't just boot up if it's completely off even for one second) you can open it, unplug the battery, plug it back again and voila … but still , it means the computer can't be re-sold in an honest way (you could always scam someone else but that's just wrong in my book) without mentioning it and lowering its used price a lot, and also, it means you need to care about the computer being plugged in most of the time which is impractical.

  28. Oh and also i use on a daily basis as a "typewriter" type computer a 2009 macbook and it works flawlessly. I run windows 7 on it though, since OSX versions newer than snow leopard are sluggish on it, and the thing is, you don't really find software that easily for a 2009 OS … unless it's windows and then you're golden, everything works really well. So it's obsolete, but still, it handles 99% of my daily tasks : check email, play music, go on social media and the likes. I also own a dell T7500 with 6-core intel Xeon and 12gb Ram (and plenty of disk drives in it) and it's a really good computer even by modern standards and it can handle video editing and music production … i paid next to nothing for it (130 euros a couple years ago) , the only thing i had to deal with was the noise. I didn't notice it was annoyingly noisy until it was in my living room, as i only could test it in a room full of servers with AC. Still very quiet for a server/workstation though, some of these are yelling that insane high-pitched noise into your ears and they're basically unusable unless it's some kind of web/file server put somewhere away from human ears. So yeah, "pro" computers can be had for cheap and they have the guts to run videogames and stuff but really do pay attention to details like this. I replaced most fans, got rid of the amazing but super noisy RAID array of 15krpm disk drives and now it's as silent as any standard PC. But yeah. I thought "wow i can run big audio projects on this ! " and then found out it was too noisy to really be useable as an audio PC (what's the point of low-noise audio interfaces and studio monitors if your computer goes "bzzzzzzzzzzrrzzzzzrrrrrrzzz" haha). Still, i could get the macbook (which is dead quiet) and the Dell for less than 300 euros , so i'm super happy with my computer setup : i have all the power i need, all the transportability i need and for really really cheap.

  29. I bought a compaq portable and it didn’t have any cards or a disc drive. I sold the compaq portable to a person he said “does it work with chrome?”

  30. Hello.
    I have a question for the last tips.
    If I reinstall windows and start with a fresh start, is it still possible to have Spyware or viruses?
    Thank you, it waste useful for me.

  31. Some other tips for laptop hunting:
    -Have a general idea of what uses you will want out of the laptop. This would give you an idea of what specs you would want for it to get the most use out of it for your everyday needs.
    -Make sure the laptop has enough memory for optimal usage and check if the OS on it is a 32-bit or 64-bit system. 32-bit systems have a 4 GB limit they can properly address. 64-bit systems can access more, but should have at least 6 GB or more for optimal memory access and to reduce strain on the processors.
    -Have a large enough harddrive on it that will be able to store whatever programs and personal files will be installed and saved on it. It doesn't have to be a mammoth like terabyte drives. But you don't want too little storage either since the harddrive will still be reserving some space for system files the OS will need to properly run.
    -Have a set budget in mind for how much you would be willing to invest in the computer. Sometimes, the laptop you get's perfect. Other times, you may have to pay to make some fixes or changes to it. Just make sure what you may have to pay extra for in repairs or part replacements won't cost more than what you pay for the laptop, when you could get a better machine with all that money spent.

    My current laptop is a Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series I bought used 3 years ago for $180 on E-Bay with a Windows 8.1 64-bit OS. Specs on it were decent for the most part, though it got a bit sluggish at points if I had anything fairly memory-intensive running on its 4 GB of RAM. So spent an extra $50 to max out the memory on the laptop's motherboard to 8 GB. Performance with handling multi-tasking and fairly memory-intensive applications improved quite a bit compared with the memory upgrade.

  32. actually, you can install a new OS if the os is password locked.
    Worked for Psiverwi for a numerous laptop restorations.

  33. 3:38 my sister's dell laptop is one that would fail at least 2 of those checks
    Battery hardly holds any charge (just enough for it to boot and load into windows, and then run for a few minutes)
    CD drive doesn't work (if you do put a disk in it, then the disk doesn't spin, at least the eject mechanism works though)

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