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Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?

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The Gorn:
My wife's 2012 vintage Windows 7 Dell Vostro PC fried this last weekend. Mainly it's for Facebook, occasional Word/writing, and email.

So she needs a new computer. (I'll start a second thread about the fried PC. It's a peculiar situation I have never seen before.)

What experience do any of you have with refurbished PCs with Windows pre-loaded?

She's open to Windows 10 and I think that would be a good move to have one current OS in the house.

We went out this weekend and actually bought a refurb at a Micro Center.

But I am returning the SOB tomorrow because I am not happy that the machine's reported specs when started do not match the stated sales specs.

This unit:

(Set your store to Sharonville, Ohio if it doesn't show inventory or the device.)

The system WE received, when booted, showed a 160 GB hard drive (confirmed as a WD model starting with WD1600... that is only 158,000,000,000 bytes)
and only 4 GB of ram.

The box was supposed to have 8 GB ram and 500 GB hard drive.  Curiously the box the PC was packaged in from the refurb place showed 8GB and 500GB. Apparently the refurb place is either bait-and-switching or made an honest and sloppy mistake.

Out of curiosity I went on Amazon and found multiple marketplace deals from certified refurb places for the same configuration and model of PC but with a 1 or 2 TB drive, for $185. About 45 less for the same or more system. We can certainly wait 2 days for shipping.

I'm pissed with Micro Center over this and they will have to earn my business back.

Can someone advise if a refurb is a good proposition for a light home user who would prefer to keep the computer for at least 5 years? I know that I can't even buy a bare hard drive, mobo, and CPU for this price much less a copy of Windows 10. New is out of the question for her use and our budget. I'm having to replace a lot of electronic shit in our house at the same time and I want to put as little as I can into this.

These are off-lease machines leased by businesses. I noticed at a doctor's office today that the nurse had exactly the same low-profile PC on the floor under the desk that this thing is. They must be sold or leased by the millions.

So, can we buy a refurbished PC with confidence that it will last at least 3+ years? At this price level I expect some "Kleenex" like dynamics  but if it lasts longer, great.


The Gorn:
No need to go into warranty standards for refurbs, or the issues of how the OS powers up. I just watched a video of a guy showing how to make certain that the system is running a "factory sealed" install of Windows 10 rather than inheriting an unknown-quality existing install has been set up for "Preferred Customer". I also know that warranties are much shorter on average and we'll need to buy SquareTrade or something for coverage.

All I usually buy are refurbs, whether desktops or laptops.   I have had good experiences with all of them.

My opinion on Windows 10, however, is different.   It is an absolute piece of trash IMO.   Much slower than Windows 7.   Lots of luck trying to turn off updates.   I have tried everything I can including You/tube videos and MS still does forced updates whether you have them turned off or not.   The machine in question is a Dell laptop purchased new.   It should be the fastest machine I have but it is dog slow because of all the crap going on under the covers with Windows 10.   I am seriously thinking of blowing everything away and installing Windows 7.

The Gorn:
Only problem is, windows 7 is almost EOL. I want a bit of future proofing.

Thanks for your experiences.

I've had 2 friends buy refurbs off Amazon. Great computers for the price. But some things to consider --

1- Sometimes the cases will exhibit minor wear, scratches, etc.  No concern for most people. But a few will prefer a new looking machine
2- Don't run Win 10 on them. 
    A- Dual core boxes won't be fast enough for Win 10, with the real-time virus scanner overhead essentially consuming
         an entire CPU core these days.
    B- There is no way to block Win Updates, so when they decide you must upgrade, your old box will be forced into
         something it might not be able to carry off.   Witness all the people who got screwed when their Win 7 boxes automatically
         tried to update to 10.
    C.  MS officially announced they are not providing Win 10 updates for certain mature computers already running Win 10 --
3. Win 7 Extended Support ends in Jan 2020, so Win7 only offers 18 months of use in supported mode. Not worth it, imho
4. Install Linux. My hands-on experience is that dual core boxes up to 10 years old can run Mint/xfce, Xubuntu, or Lubuntu just fine.
    (I don't know about other distros.)

My personal conclusion -- if you want Windows, buy a new machine that will last a while with it. A refurb with Windows will likely
have a very limited lifespan. If you're ok with Linux, the refurb will work great and save you some money.


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