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Are you short on a budget and want to purchase a used laptop? While that’s a perfectly fine idea, it’s vital to thoroughly check a used laptop before actually paying for it.

Because keep in mind that when buying a laptop from an individual who previously used it, the laptop doesn’t come with warranty and it’ll be virtually impossible to return the laptop if you later find out it’s broken.

There are a few things to keep an eye on when choosing a used laptop. Knowing what to look at when examining a used laptop could also help you decrease its price. That, of course, if the seller really wants to sell it ASAP.

Outer appearance when closed

Although one might think it’s not wise to check the outer appearance of a used laptop, it actually is.

And while seeing scratches on the outer casing of the laptop doesn’t mean anything, you can actually say a thing or two about a laptop’s performance when looking at its outer appearance.

  1. Check the laptop’s edges. If you see any cracks or damages there, it may suggest that the laptop has been previously dropped. It’s best to stay away from such used laptop, as there is a high chance many of its inner components, including hard drive, could be damaged.
  2. Now look at the laptop’s ports and sockets. Any cracks in them indicate that the previous owner hasn’t been exactly careful with this laptop.

And while you certainly shouldn’t be giving that person lectures about careful and proper handling of laptops (though millions of laptops would appreciate if you did), it’s best to check if those ports and sockets are working properly.

While it’s rather difficult to break a laptop’s port or socket, if you see any cracks there, the previous owner has probably dropped the laptop while a charging device was plugged in. Stay away from laptops with non-operational ports and sockets.

Outer appearance when opened

Start examining the outer appearance of a used laptop by checking for any visible flaws when it’s opened.

Check if you can freely and easily press all of the keys on its keyboard. If any of the keys gets stuck, it means the previous owner has spilled some liquid on it.

Now check if the touchpad works properly. Make sure it’s fully responsive to your fingers and its left and right buttons are fully operational.

Pay particular attention to the screen. Make sure there aren’t any defects when looking at it.

Turning it on

Press the power key. Make sure there aren’t any errors while the operational system starts. In case there are any, best case scenario you’ll have to reinstall the OS, worst case scenario – you’ll have to spend extra bucks to replace the hard drive.

Testing it

If the used laptop has passed all the above checks, now it’s time to test how it works. First, connect the battery and make sure it works properly.

When connecting a battery to the used laptop, make sure Windows doesn’t show any errors. If Windows says that the battery needs to be replaced, either bring down the price or refuse to buy that used laptop at all.

Now plug the battery out. If the used laptop turns off automatically when there’s less than 20% of battery life, its accumulator storage battery should probably be replaced.

Check the keyboard and touch pad. Using touch pad, create a new Microsoft Word document on desktop, open it, and start check each key on the keyboard in the document.

Pay particular attention if the keys – Shift, Enter, Del, Tab and space – are all working properly.

Screen. While your laptop is turned on, make sure there aren’t any dead pixels on it. They can be better seen on a dark background.  Scratches, meanwhile, are best seen on a light background.

USB ports. Also make sure you check every USB port on a used laptop. To do that, use any flash drive and check each USB port one by one.

If when connecting a flash drive into a USB port the laptop automatically turns off, it means there’s a short circuit on that USB port. That’s a good reason to either decrease the price or don’t buy that used laptop at all.

Wi-Fi. Nobody expects you to use a laptop without Wi-Fi nowadays, which is why having a fully operational Wi-Fi on a used laptop is crucial. Make sure the laptop detects the wireless network.

After connecting to any Wi-Fi network, type in any website in Google Chrome or whatever browser that laptop has. Make sure it loads the page and there aren’t any errors.

Sound.Open any audio file on the used laptop – whether it’s music or recording of some type – and make sure speakers are working properly. The sound must be smooth and clear.

Now connect headphones to the laptop to make sure the audio port is operational.

Cooling system.Pay close attention to the noise coming from a used laptop when it’s turned on. If it’s too noisy, the laptop may have issues with its cooling system. It means either you simply need to get the dust out of the laptop or you need to replace the fan.

In order to check a used laptop for overheating issues, start any heavy-duty program (i.e. video game) or start multitasking heavily (opening dozens of tabs in the browser).

Brief summary:make sure you check each point mentioned above when choosing a used laptop. If you don’t, you may end up having to pay more for fixing the laptop’s existing issues than you would if you bought a brand new laptop in the first place.

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