Used Laptop / Desktop Computer

When shopping for a used computer.  Here are some guidelines for what type of things to look for.  Remember you do not need the latest and greatest to run Word processing (WP), Calculator and spreadsheets.

What to look for:


The memory is very important, for the operating system (OS) & software (Listed are the OS release date and support end date):

Windows 10 - min. 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 gigabyte GB RAM (64-bit), Released July 2015, Support Ends Oct 2025 
Windows 8 -  min. 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 gigabyte GB RAM (64-bit), Released Oct. 2013, Support Ends Jan. 2023
Windows 7 - min. 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 gigabyte GB RAM (64-bit), Released Feb. 2011, Support Ends Jan. 2020 
Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows Vista Ultimate  - min. 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit)   or  2 gigabyte GB RAM (64-bit), Released May 2009, Support Ended April 2017 
Windows Vista Home Basic - minimum 128 MB RAM = system memory (recommended 512 MB RAM), Released Feb. 2008, Support Ended July 2011

Windows XP Home/Professional - minimum 128 MB RAM = system memory (recommended 512 MB RAM),  Released Oct. 2001, Support Ended April 2014

Windows 2000  - min. 128 MB RAM (recommended 512 MB RAM), Released Dec. 2000, Support Ended Sept. 2005
Windows Millennium Edition (ME) - min. 64MB RAM (recommended 256 MB RAM), Released Sept. 2000
Windows 98  - min. 32 MB RAM (recommended 256 MB RAM), Released 1998
Windows NT   - min. 128 MB RAM (recommended 512 MB RAM), Released 1996

Windows 95 - min. 16 MB RAM, Released Aug. 1995
Windows 3.1 - min.  8 MB RAM, Released 1993

Note: When support ends for the system Operating System (OS), it means company (Microsoft) will no longer provide security updates or technical support for system Operating System (OS).  Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware and help keep users and your data safe. Your system is no longer protected, as you will no longer have a supported operating systemows, and will no longer receive regular security updates to protect your computer from malicious attacks.  You would not want to use an unsupported Operating System to access the internet.

The processor speed determines how fast or slow the computer runs, it is measured in Hertz, generally in gigahertz (GHz).
The microprocessor are Pentium's (P-III to P-IV - (MHZ 850 - GHZ 2.7)
Windows 7 & 10 min. 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

The hard drive, is now much you can store on this PC.
min. for earlier verisons of windows were around 500 MB - 120 GB (500 MB a 1/2 of GB, and systems are coming with 30 GB drives and larger).

Windows 7 and 10 - min. 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

The older screen size were 10" - 12" getting larger all the time.

If you want to access the internet, you need modem, most computers have wireless modems build in.

Added features:
Mouse, seperate plug in (so your don't have your the laptop cursor control (i.e. Trackpad, Eraser-joystick-thingy)

A Laptop carrying case
CD-ROM drive
car DC adapter ($70.)

The two most likely things to die on an older computer / laptops:

1) hard drive (that why you want the CD/diskettes of the Operatoring System (Windows) and Word Processing (WP).
2) Laptop battery (add the $90 - $120 to your cost.)

Add the cost of the AC adapter, if not included (cost around $70.).

Operating System (OS), if you want internet access you would want Operating System.

If you are going with an older OS you want to make sure you are going to get System CD or diskettes.

You would want the CDs for (OS, Word, etc.), to be able to reinstall the software, if the hard disk crashes or you have a software problem you can reload the program again.  If you get the manuals the CDs or diskettes are usually in them.

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This webpage was created February, 2003, by Melody Orfei
Webpage last modified on March 19, 2017 - V4, by Melody Orfei