Computers & Electronics

Buying used laptop, how to install Windows?

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  • Oct 10th, 2019 11:15 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jun 4, 2013
505 posts
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Oakville

Buying used laptop, how to install Windows?

Might sound silly here but I think I had to install Windows once ever, which was like 15 years ago or something.

I want to buy used laptop to keep at the cottage or wherever. Something that can play movies and surf the web on the TV via HDMI. No gaming. Will also buy wireless keyboard and mouse so we can control it from the couch. So spending no more than $150.

If I buy one from Kijiji, I assume the seller would have reset it to factory? Does that mean it'll still have Windows installed but I can just create a profile and log in? Or do I have to make sure they have the WIndows software CD and install myself? Regardless, I assume I should only buy one that comes with the Windows disc?

Thanks for the help.
12 replies
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Jul 7, 2017
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All that would help. Who knows what the seller will do or how savvy they are.

Reset means HD content should be factory fresh though the caveat about malware applies. The recovery/OEM media is stored in a partition of the original HD. Haven't seen an OS install disk from Vista onward: You had to burn, if you wished, the install media onto DVDs or a USB key drive.

I got a disk-less (or HD-removed) computer a few weeks ago. Stuck in the hardly-used OEM HD from a Dell into it (with Vista which of course didn't work). Got a Win 7 UG disk, then Win 8.1 Pro and then finally Win 10. Might want to low-level format the drive it comes with - if you get one - to purge it of malware (or to be safe, install an SSD - a small one is cheap).

If you get one with the OS, I would install Win 10 over it (if you wish) and have Win 10 activated, then format the drive and reinstall (the UG requires an (activated) earlier version of Windows). Once registered, subsequent installs are activated.

The MS wireless keyboard with touchpad works very nicely for your intended application.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
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thriftshopper wrote: Who knows what the seller will do or how savvy they are.
This would be my concern.
Hell I don't even trust manufacturers.

Every computer that I control gets a fresh install.
Plus it's not like I can get computer with LTSC installed....
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
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metaman wrote: If I buy one from Kijiji, I assume the seller would have reset it to factory? Does that mean it'll still have Windows installed but I can just create a profile and log in? Or do I have to make sure they have the WIndows software CD and install myself? Regardless, I assume I should only buy one that comes with the Windows disc?
The only real thing that'd be important for legal reasons is a COA (certificate of authenticity) for whatever version of Windows comes with it.
With that you can either reinstall that version (probably 7, maybe Vista, perhaps 8, could be even 10) or use that key and upgrade to 10.
You don't NEED a CD since ISOs are readily available on the internet for every version. The important thing is the key.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jun 4, 2013
505 posts
66 upvotes
Oakville
Thanks.

One more thing. If the laptop I buy comes with Windows 10, can I use the key to download Windows 7 instead? We went from 7 to 10 at work the last few months and it's been a disaster. Computer constantly lagging and Outlook and some other programs freeze for up to 10 seconds at a time on a regular basis. And they got rid of the recent docs shortcut, etc. And sometimes buttons just stop working like the Windows button and the minimize to desktop button for instance.

Not sure if the same thing would happen on the laptop I buy but so far I'm not liking 10. It happens to every single one of us here at work and IT says we're stuck with this.
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Feb 10, 2007
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Sounds like your computer drive is dying more than windows 10 been a "disaster" if your computer is constantly lagging and programs are freezing up.
metaman wrote: Thanks.

One more thing. If the laptop I buy comes with Windows 10, can I use the key to download Windows 7 instead? We went from 7 to 10 at work the last few months and it's been a disaster. Computer constantly lagging and Outlook and some other programs freeze for up to 10 seconds at a time on a regular basis. And they got rid of the recent docs shortcut, etc. And sometimes buttons just stop working like the Windows button and the minimize to desktop button for instance.

Not sure if the same thing would happen on the laptop I buy but so far I'm not liking 10. It happens to every single one of us here at work and IT says we're stuck with this.
[self promotion rule violation, removed twice already][self promotion rule violation, removed twice already]Trolling or Threadcrapping Trolling - woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop
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Jul 7, 2017
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You don't need a key for Win 8/8.1 (IIRC) or Win 10 computers if that's what they came with. Both use the HW signature.

Can't downgrade to Win 7. Could a few years ago but not any more. There is no Win 10 key that lets you downgrade.

I have 7 computers running Win 10 (none came with Win 10 originally) in my house and none are experiencing this. 3 are either old Core2Duo desktops or a laptop with only 4 GB of RAM max and over 10 years old. Installing an SSD in two of them really helped (never tried it with the third). The "new" 8GB RAM 3-core Phenom lags a little bit but it may be due to the 160GB HD I'm using in it.

Check how much drive space there is and try freeing up space if there is less than 10-20 GB remaining. More RAM too (>4GB, 6 better, 8 or more best).
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
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Aug 22, 2006
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metaman wrote: One more thing. If the laptop I buy comes with Windows 10, can I use the key to download Windows 7 instead?
Since I doubt you're buying this under a licensing structure you don't have downgrade rights.
If you want a legal copy, the best you can hope for is new old stock, but good luck finding it between the black market keys.
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sexyj wrote: Sounds like your computer drive is dying more than windows 10 been a "disaster" if your computer is constantly lagging and programs are freezing up.
In this case I'd agree that it's probably the drive.
Windows 10 is still a disaster for completely separate reasons.
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Feb 26, 2011
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Redsanta wrote: pic
Fail. The guy is clearly removing the window, not installing.
Good job trying to be funny, but try harder next time.

On topic: Is there a reason why you would need windows? What about an android box or ChromeOS system.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jun 4, 2013
505 posts
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Oakville
Was close to buying a two year old $400 retail price laptop for $100. But when I googled the machine it said the HD is 32GB. Two sites showed that under the specs.

Is that for real? They make machines with tiny HDs like that? It was an HP with a 14" screen.
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Aug 22, 2006
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jwslam wrote: On topic: Is there a reason why you would need windows? What about an android box or ChromeOS system.
That raises more questions.
The next thing in line after Windows to me is Linux, not Android or ChromeOS.
metaman wrote: Is that for real? They make machines with tiny HDs like that? It was an HP with a 14" screen.
Sure. They even sell machines like that today.
Not everyone needs a giant hard drive. Hell I have a bunch of computers that only have 32GB. They're basically thick thin clients that basically work off a NAS.
They're obviously not everyone's cup of tea but they do have their place.
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Sep 30, 2015
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York, ON
You can ask the seller to show you that windows 10 is working, and activated. Also the license is tied to his.her Microsoft account, so you need to find out how to transfer the license to you. I would google or ask Microsoft for a proper way to transfer the windows 10 license.
As suggested, you can install Linux for free, but you have to learn a new way of dealing with Linux, although the routines are pretty similar. I have my desktop on dual boot which has windows 10 and Linux. I only use windows 10 for gaming and some programs such as Studio Tax which runs on windows only. . If you have the time, I strongly advice to learn Linux.

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