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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


    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
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