Category Archives: PC Hardware

Should You Buy a Refurbished Computer

Saving money is important to everyone and buying a refurbished computer may be the right choice for you.  However, recently we discovered that some claims of being refurbished may not be legitimate.

Being factory refurbished means the system has been completely checked out, cleaned inside and out and most importantly…the data (from the previous user) has been properly erased before the system is sold to someone else. We recently discovered at least one large discount store is simply restoring the hard-drive of returned computers without properly erasing the previous users data.  This is dangerous for both the previous user and the recipient of the refurbished system.

If you do decide to purchase a refurbished system, ask these questions before you decide to close the deal.

  1. Was the machine refurbished by the original equipment manufacturer?
  2. Is the hard-drive in the machine brand new, or has it been refurbished?
  3. If the drive is refurbished, was the previous users data completely erased? Not simply reformatted and the operating system reinstalled.
  4. Does the system come with a warranty of 90 days or better?

As a final note: If you should ever need to return a computer (new or refurbished) to a store, please make sure your data has been securely erased.  Not doing so could result in your personal information or files being restored by an unknown person in a near or distant land.  If you don’t know how to securely erase your data, we suggest you have reputable and certified system technician take care of it for you.  A reputable provider will give you a certificate of destruction.

Laptop Power

A recent call for support presented a young lady who was having trouble with her laptop computer.  She explained the patient computer had been back to the manufacturer three times in the last 30 days for a handful of issues all pointing to one thing…power problems.

When we advised the client the problem was likely a power supply issue she advised that she didn’t think so as the system was powering fine.  She later explained she had replaced the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) power supply with one of two non-OEM’s that she had purchased through a well known auction site.  The decision to purchased non-OEM was due to the higher cost.

We can certainly appreciate saving money, but at what cost.  Non-OEM laptop power supplies are not necessarily manufactured to the standards or specifications of the OEM.  If you decide to purchase a non-OEM or aftermarket compatible product to power your laptop, you could be exposing your laptop to an unregulated power source.  One that could damage your laptop in the short or long term.  This concept is true with aftermarket non-OEM batteries.

The pro’s of aftermarket non-OEM power supplies and batteries are limited to reduced cost or perceived savings.

The con’s of the same include;

  1. Potential damage to your laptop
  2. Voiding your laptop warranty instantly.
  3. Frustrating problems which seem unexplainable.
  4. Offset of the savings over a the OEM product when you need to replace a poorly manufactured power source yet again.

Carefully consider the purchase of non-OEM laptop power supplies and batteries.  Understand the risks involved.  If the OEM replacement is available, you should spend the extra money.  If you are unable to purchase an OEM replacement from your local computer supplier or battery store, check web sources and popular auction sites before deciding on the aftermarket product.  Remember that you will always get what you pay for.