[Recreated from May 2017 post on my old blog]
Second hand computers are simply a massive pain.
There are reasons why people want to get rid of old computers and trust me, you really don't want their reasons becoming your reasons.
The only time a second hand computer is any good is when someone a bit technical, and open to the pain, knows what they are doing and wants to play.
But for most of you, just forget second hand computers altogether.
I don't know what is in the water at the moment, but I am being contacted by a lot of people who have bought second hand computers and are, unsurprisingly, having problems with them.
They are quite simply bad value for money and nearly always problematic.
You may think you are saving the world by going "refurbished" but really you should leave that to the techie folks who know what they are getting in to.
I understand that money may be tight and that all you really want to do is surf the internet and maybe do some emails, but the $150 you spent on some suspect machine from Gumtree will turn into a money pit if you don't have the skills to bring it up to scratch and keep it running yourself.
This ISN'T a recommendation either, not by any stretch of the imagination, but you'd really be better served buying a new $350 laptop from Harvey Norman than getting a second hand one. But DON'T do that either - that's the subject of another email.
I've refurbished, repaired, sold, given away, fixed again, taken back, upgraded...you name it with hundreds of second hand computers and the clearest common thread with them all is regret.
Regret and wasted time...sooooo much wasted time.
No matter how well intentioned anyone I've dealt with may be, it has always ended up being more painful than it was worth... and believe me, I've put a lot more work into a machine than the price tag could possibly reflect.
Don't get me wrong, I do recycle, repair and refurbish (still) against my better judgement. It just seems such a waste to throw some of these things out. So, where possible, these machines go to charity instead of the tip.
But from a purely pragmatic, cost versus benefit perspective for the average buyer, it just is not worth it.
So do yourself a favour and don't buy second hand computers. Just. Don't.
P.S. As happens with my blog posts I sometimes get feedback that I am wrong. For this post several people told me they'd bought second hand computers and done well out of it. They had saved money and the machines were OK.
HOWEVER, the common thread with these people was that they knew what they were doing. They were happy with the risk, if they wasted the money it wasn't a problem, they knew what to buy and they had a good chance of dealing with any issues that would inevitably crop up..
If that doesn't sound like you then my advice stands.