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Buying a second-hand laptop

  1. Aug 10, 2017 #1
    How can we quickly check a second-hand laptop for hardware failures? Are simple softwares enough for this purpose? Another point is that how we can check if it is a theft-good and after buying how can we register it to our property? What documents should we want from sellers?

    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2017 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    If it's discovered to be stolen, there's no document that will help you keep it. A receipt may give some leeway with the police as to who sold it to you.

    Checking the hardware is more about trying each feature:

    - can it boot?
    - does the fan work? are the vents clogged with dust and junk?
    - any physical case damage? or screen damage? (sometime people would pick up the laptop by the corner and its weight would crack the system board after time)
    - does the wifi work? what level of wifi support? 802.11 G or N or ??? and does it match what your home router supports? or is it too old?
    - does the LAN connection work?
    - does the telephone jack work? optional test unless that's what you use to connect with?
    - does the SD card slot (if present) work?
    - does the older card slots work? these were sometimes used for wifi cards to give the laptop wifi capability?
    - does the Bluetooth (if present) work?
    - does each USB port recognize USB sticks or mice?
    - does the CD/DVD player and recorder work? can you write a CD or a DVD R- R+ RW modes?
    - does the battery hold its charge while the laptop is running?
    - does the touchpad or mouse stick (IBM) work, any dead spots?
    - do all keys on the keyboard work? any sticky ones? any broken ones? any misplaced ones (ie you press A and K)? any shifted ones?
    - does the function keys work? can you change the volume? brighten or dim the screen?
    - any bad pixels on the screen as you're viewing different photos or better yet several solid color images to test red, green, blue ... display?
    - does the headphone jack work?
    - once warmed up does it still work (ie no heat issues causing a quick shutdown or freeze)?
    - does it handle intensive graphics/computational work without freezing up (ie get too hot)?
    - does the battery adapter properly charge the battery (ie do you see a charging icon on the display)?
    - check the hard drive capacity to make sure its as advertized?
    - OS up to date? did they give you the windows keys?
    - virus protection work?

    This is a pretty complete list although I'm sure I missed something.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  4. Aug 23, 2017 #3

    NascentOxygen

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If you were to pay for an item using your credit card, then within a few months find that you didn't have title to it because the item had previously been stolen, there may be a case for seeking refund of your payment (a "chargeback") from your credit card company. I'm speculating here, no precedent comes immediately to mind. But it seems a case of paying for ownership of a specific item but not receiving that ownership. The card company may have a general time limit. Where your credit card is provided by a bank, that bank may independently refund all or part of your funds, as it sees fit, so it is in your best interest to remain on good terms with your local branch who are always keen to retain a good customer: should your credit card company not be willing to help, then your bank manager may of his/her own accord be happy to oblige.

    Keep all records.
     
  5. Aug 23, 2017 #4

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, I think you're right because the credit card company supposedly only works with reputable vendors and hence can make that service available to their customers as a kind of protection from fraud from a vendor acting in bad faith i.e. selling stolen goods.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  6. Aug 24, 2017 #5

    Tom.G

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Here in the U.S. credit card companies will do a chargeback only if you have not yet paid them for the item! At least that is what their Terms and Conditions say. Once the card company gets your money they keep it.
     
  7. Aug 24, 2017 #6

    NascentOxygen

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    So if you make a travel booking or buy concert tickets for next year, but in the meantime the promoter goes into bankruptcy, your credit card company says bad luck—your loss! That doesn't sound right.
     
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