Posts Tagged ‘used laptops’

Noise from Used Laptop Solved by Cleaning

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

In this photo is an older laptop which a customer had brought in because another tech had told them that they needed a new hard drive because there was a clicking sound coming from the laptop. This is just a cheap Dell Inspiron 5100 and since the cost for the job would require a new HDD, data backup, OS installation and labor costs, it was getting pretty pricey. So they brought it to us to check out for a second opinion on the diagnosis and find out why their laptop was making that noise.

The funny thing is that there was indeed a clicking sound coming from the laptop, but it was definitely not the hard drive. It was a very small twig which had gotten lodged into the heat-sink area and the fan was hitting it making a faint clicking sound. So for a much lower price we were able to quickly access the part and remove the offending twig which was making the sound as well as give it a thorough cleaning.

Laptop Heatsink Fan Combo

So here is a tip if you are looking to buy a used laptop and want to help to prolong its lifespan.

Over the years we have found various things like a blade of grass or other outdoor type of object in them and since they are portable it is not unusual to find things like this when you work on a lot of laptops. However, it is as easy as using a source of compressed air in order to blow out any dust or debris which can get caught in the fan area of the laptop.

We have offered various other tips and suggestions for easy ways that you can help keep your laptop clean before and this is one good example of why this particular tip is worth doing every once in a while. On many used laptop models this area will consist of a heatsink fan combo unit.

If you look at the picture of this you can see how the little brass area which sort of looks like a grill has the ability to accumulate a lot of dust and debris within its fins. It is really important to keep this area clean so that the laptop can stay cooler when it is powered on.

It is not necessary to dismantle the laptop in order to properly blow out any debris in most instances. However some used laptops and cheap netbooks will have accumulated a fair amount of this and will need to be manually cleaned, but this is only on the rare occasion. The more common situation is that simply by using a can of compressed air you should be able to completely clean that area of the used laptop (fan as well as heatsink) which could impede proper air flow. Finding a bargain on one of the cheap laptops under 100 which we showcase is definitely exciting, but even when the laptop is in immaculate condition it never hurts to clean out the fan area. It only takes a few minutes and the compressed air is fairly cheap too.

Used Laptops often only require Basic Work

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

One common occurrence that we run into while working with used laptops is when the owner of the computer has owned it for several years but finds that it has gotten slow over time. They usually have good things to say about the laptop like how it has performed well for them since they have owned it. Yet when they use it they typically mention how it has just become too slow even during everyday basic laptop use. In some of these instances the owner will have several utilities installed on the laptop that keep the system clean, typically things like system tools and antivirus programs. However many times there will be too many of these types of programs installed and they will actually have a detrimental effect on the actual performance of the laptop. This is often why the owner just wants to get rid of their used laptop and upgrade to a newer one.

We have seen this time and again over the years yet we have also seen even more instances where there was an inadequate amount of effort put into installing the basics like a firewall and anti virus program. In these cases the used laptop has usually slowed down because of too much bloat and spyware on the system. Over the years used laptops can accumulate a huge amount of bloat from simple everyday usage and the installation (and often improper un-installation) of programs. This is normal and is the result of merely using a computer for exactly what it was intended to be used for in the first place. Yet since there has been an inadequate effort put forth to keeping it well maintained, the owner decides that it is time to upgrade to a new computer.

This is understandable really, and the fact is that a proper professional tune up can be somewhat expensive and wanting to trade-in or sell the used laptop is often a good decision for them. Many people do grow in their needs for more updated or more powerful specifications which new models can offer. Yet this also creates a great opportunity for buyers who are looking for working used laptops under 100 which simply need some cleaning up. Typically we spend time checking and testing the hardware on the laptops first when we acquire a used laptop. As for cleaning up the operating system, spyware or other software it is frequently not worth it. Formatting the hard drive and doing a proper clean installation of the operating system is the way to go in most situations.

It is necessary to install the operating system which was originally on the used laptop. This is easy enough to identify from within the system or by the sticker on the bottom of the laptop (on the majority of models). This is also where we will get the license key to install the operating system properly, and legally. As far as determining whether you have found a good deal or not, see our used laptop checklist which will help guide you through what the most important things are to look for on any make or model and especially on second hand laptops under £150. Knowing what to look at will increase your chances of getting a good cheap used laptop computer that hopefully only needs a clean install of the operating system, driver updates and basic security programs to get you up and running.

Used Laptops and Operating System Lifespan

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

The operating system in a used laptop will provide the user with all of the original functionality which it initially offered, even after the support for the specific version of the operating system has ended. The actual lifespan of the OS (operating system) will depend on which one your used laptop actually has installed on it.

Take Microsoft Windows XP for example. This is an extremely popular OS and is found on a variety of used laptops under 100 dollars. However XP has been around for a long time now, initially released in 2001. Microsoft has a specified support life cycle which addresses each of their operating systems. For Windows XP the original support ended in April of 2009 however this does not mean that any computer running XP becomes unusable by any means. The actual usability of the computer remains the same as it would have initially yet the updates, hot fixes and Service Packs which had been released under the initial support wind down. This has been the case for the Microsoft operating systems of the past and similarly to newer ones as well.

Windows XP in its most common versions includes Home, Professional and Media Center Edition. The highest Service Pack was SP3. As for the cheap laptops which people look for can have any one of these versions of XP, it is always recommended that you update to the latest Service Pack which is free. This will include security patches as well as other functionality updates that will address compatibility with newer technologies and other hardware related aspects too.

While XP has been around for a long time now, many computer users still prefer it over the newer Microsoft operating systems. The main support may have ended yet the extended support for XP will be around until April of 2014. If you keep your used laptop protected with antivirus software, a firewall and antispyware program then you will definitely be addressing the most prolific potential issues with any computer which connects to the Internet. There are used laptops under $100 which can run Vista and even Windows 7 so these options make it easy to save big and still utilize the OS of your choice. As with any product, there is some form of a relevant life cycle and the same goes for laptops and the operating systems which they use.

Simple Fix for Used Laptops Slow Boot up

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Slow start up times on laptop computers may be caused by old network drives that are no longer needed. Occasionally we have seen used laptops and customer laptops that would pass all tests and diagnostics yet still suffer from extremely slow boot ups. While in the beginning of the troubleshooting process there are common starting points that need to be looked at, the initial idea is to determine whether the likely cause of this is due to a hardware or a software problem.

There is one not very common yet worthwhile thing to check before proceeding to any in depth diagnostics unless that is part of that particular procedure, which may be done anyway, and that is to take a look for any network drives which may be holding things up. Windows will try to connect to the network drive during the boot process and if it cannot make the connection, it is going to wait. The real problem with this is that Windows will continue to wait so that the entire process in basically stuck in this state.

When this is setup on a laptop computer there is an option to set it to reconnect at logon. Yet if you are sure that you do not need this, you may consider not choosing this, or in this example disconnecting. This will remove the need for the operating system on the used laptop to wait on a connection from another drive, which may not exist at all if you are not actually on the network.

  • Start
  • My Computer
  • Tools Menu
  • Disconnect Network Drive

When you know that the drive is unnecessary this can be a super easy fix to a really bothersome problem. We all like our cheap laptops under 100 to be as fast and responsive as any computer that we use. Although this is not a common issue, sometimes used laptops that have not had the operating system reinstalled fresh will have old configurations such as this that are simple to resolve.

Integrated Components in Cheap Laptops Under 100 Reduce Space

Sunday, August 1st, 2010
Cheap Laptops Under 100 Integrated

Designs will vary widely in the laptop computers just as they do in personal computers in general. Because laptops are portable the designs will mainly focus on integrated components to reduce space more often mainly because of size limitations. After all, the idea is to manufacture the most lightweight personal computers possible. The video capabilities are often integrated into the system board in the latest portable computers as well as many of the cheap laptops under 100 which are featured here. With boards having this capability, typically they are produced by companies such as Intel for example, the actual chipset is perfectly matched to the system not only design wise, but usage wise as well. The concept being in many cases that the system memory will be shared with the video needs of the computer during various tasks providing the ultimate in utilizing the system resources with one another.

Intel Chip

Obviously the design variations mean that some laptops are designed for the most common usage, thus providing the consumer with an opportunity to have a reliable, powerful laptop that is not overburdened with unnecessary features. In cases where there is actually a need to perform ultra high end computing tasks such as what video production businesses require, the much more powerful and expensive laptops will be required. For the everyday usage which is most commonplace today, the used laptops under 100 are often the right choice, especially when budgetary constraints are important for the consumer to remain within. There are other very common integrated capabilities found within the majority of laptops as well. One such example is the sound capabilities.

For anyone who is familiar with doing fairly simple upgrades to their computers, they may have added a PCI card or some such technology to their computer in the past. Obviously with laptop computers this is not the same because the sound card is actually part of the motherboard itself in most cases. As we used the Intel chipset as an earlier example, the same premise can hold true for the audio portion of the board. Even if you were to take 100 laptops randomly and look at who the manufacturer is, you will likely find that there is an Intel component in possibly the majority of them. This includes cheap laptops under 100 and they themselves are often examples of the used laptops which were not so long ago utilizing cutting edge technology. Yet as technology continues to evolve, design elements such as the aforementioned integrated capabilities have been an essential engineering approach to laptop computers since their conception and remain in the latest versions found today.