Author Topic: Selling A Computer - There Is An Etiquette Question Involved, Really!  (Read 2803 times)

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VorFemme

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I *know* that it is much more polite (and smarter, in these days of identity theft) to sell a used computer either with a "clean install" of the operating system or (if you have the recovery disk set) a NEW hard drive with the recovery disk set.  The old hard drive can be used in the "new" computer that you're keeping or in an external case for backing up data. 

But what is the proper etiquette on updating that new install of the operating system?  Do you owe the buyer just the basic operating system without the various updates that would bring the computer current?

Or does it depend on whether or not your internet provider would charge you through the nose extra fees due to the additional useage for the data you're going to be downloading (i.e. - it's a good idea but optional, if it's going to cause problems or extra expense)?

***
Second question, of sorts.

Do you "owe" friends & family a chance to buy the computer from you at a discounted price?  Or can you do a "my price is my price and anyone willing to meet it can buy it - whether it's Mom, Cousin Fred, Neighbor Joe, or Craigslist Moe?"  Somehow, I can't see most people getting away with charging family EXTRA as an advance on Tech Support that they are going to be asked for by Mom, Fred, and Joe - but probably not by Moe, because they aren't planning on answering Moe if he does call or email...

I did give a laptop to family members, who trashed it (or at least, based on how I've seen them act, I'm pretty sure that they played tug of war with it until it broke and then the relative-by-marriage tossed it in the trash, because that is the pattern I've seen in that nuclear group of the extended family).  I no longer give away my old laptops...laptop prices have gone up, even if you're getting "more" in the way of memory and storage - I feel like "recycling" them to a new buyer is more responsible (a personal opinion - but shared by a number of people). 


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alkira6

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I tend to do two things when I sell a computer:

1. I back up my data, delete everything, uninstall programs, and then I completely restore to factory settings from the setup menu when booting.  Not as good as putting in a new HD, but it works for me.  Updates are the new owners responsibility.

2. I set a price and stick with it. I have found that giving a discount to family members only makes them undervalue what they are getting and when they trash it they blame it on me selling them a "cheap" computer.

3. If you sell to relatives, give them notice that the computer has been set to factory setting -  there is *nothing* on the computer that came from you and they are responsible for installing virus protection or what have you. In effect you are giving them a clean slate and any tech trouble that they have is up to them.

EMuir

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I sell my old computers to family at a discounted rate, but only to family I like. ;) I reinstall the OS and install virus scan, any freeware or licensed software they own.  I also provide support, but only because they're Macs and don't need much support, and the family members usually reciprocate by doing things for me.

VorFemme

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Makes me glad that the only family in close range has new computers (well, a year or less - Mom got a new one with part of her inheritance to use in sorting out the estate as executor - as a preacher's wife, she wanted NO questions about the ethics of the estate buying a computer for HER use that she was going to keep).   Lil Sis got a special deal on a new computer from the contractor providing computers for the aerospace company that was laying her off after the space shuttle landed.  Everybody else lives a lot further away and I don't see them very often, so not "close enough" in both senses of the word to be able to drive a cheap computer to their house (and it's not cheap if you're shipping it - even if it's cheaper than driving there).
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Tea Drinker

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I'm not sure about "owing" people this, but our custom (my husband's and mine) is that if we are offering used computers to family or close friends, it's a gift. If I was selling one, I wouldn't reduce the price, but I might give relatives/friends the right of first refusal. Something like, "we're selling my old machine and asking $amount. If you want to buy it, let me know by Wednesday, or it's going on Craigslist."

But that's a combination of having been able to afford that--and if we couldn't, I'd probably care about getting full price--and the reality that the hardware we're getting rid of tends to be on the old side.
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VorFemme

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First email from Craigslist...."Do you still have this and can I get a firm price from you?"

I have two laptops running different operating systems and I can "customize" the amount of RAM & size of the hard drive - plus there is a docking station & monitor stand listed, as well.

I can't give a "firm price" if the email doesn't list their choices...so I've emailed back that I need to know which of the two laptops she wants and if she wants the minimum RAM or more and the 60gb hard drive that it came with or the larger one. 

(I'm really planning to sell ONE, not both - unless I get a really good offer on them - I kind of like playing "upgrade the Dell Latitude because they seem so easy to play around with on the RAM & hard drive - but that's me, other people don't like handling screwdrivers & cracking open the back of the computer or {{horrors}} taking up the keyboard to get to the RAM!).

I think it's fun.  Call me a geek - I've been reading science fiction since fourth or fifth grade.........back when computers installed in two story buildings the size of a high school gym & kept COLD - and men were GOING to walk on the moon......soon!  If calling me a geek is the worst that they can do - this old lady will tell those young whippersnappers to get off her lawn!
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VorFemme

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Situation resolved itself - Microsoft failed the activation code for the operating system on one of the laptops.   I've installed a different operating system that I had the recovery disk for and updated a simplified listing - one without any "options".  Then emailed the potential buyer(s) with the change in status.

I'm reminding myself that if it doesn't sell - then I have a spare laptop.

I am also reminding myself that "hobbies" that leave you with extra stuff on your hands aren't always the best hobbies - even if they are fun. 
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atirial

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When selling a PC, I usually put a basic install of the OS on with a free antivirus*. Then the buyer can get whatever patches they need online but still have some virus protection while they do.

(*With the exception of selling to family, who are decidedly non-technical. They tend to get everything set up for them, including software. It saves me finding someone on the doorstep next day with a bunch of discs, a PC and a helpless expression...)

VorFemme

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Okay - I should have seen this coming.  The potential "buyer" wants me to give them my PayPal address and they will pay me an extra hundred dollars to ship it to her son......wait, next message it is her husband...

NOT going to happen. 

If I don't find a buyer on Craigslist, I'll try Ubokia.com or even eBay.  But I'm not shipping it to anyone off Craigslist.  Last time I got "paid" to do that - the shipping address was in Nigeria, the email "confirming" that my money had been deposited was a spoof, no money was in my account, and the whole string of emails got sent to PayPal.

I'm updating it to the max, just in case I do end up keeping it or posting it elsewhere - it can be a "selling point" on eBay.

Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

blarg314

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IN general, I would say to just be clear about the state that the system is in.

For example: Dell laptop, (various specs) running Windows Vista (original install) boot disks included.
                    Mac laptop, (various specs) running 10.6.5  (up-to-date-installation) boot disks included, also installed -   
                    OpenOffice, Chrome, Flamingvixen, VLC, TeXshop, Gimp, Python 2.7 installed with Tc/Tkl functionality, most
                    recent developer tools.

That way, the user knows what's on it, and what they need to do (or should, if they are buying a used laptop).

If I'm selling or giving away a computer, what I would usually do is reformat the hard-disk completely, re-install the operating system from boot disk with a generic user account and password, bring it up-to date, and re-download some common 3rd party free-ware stuff, like Gimp and VLC.  I hand over the computer, original boot disks, manuals, etc, and after that it's no longer my problem - if they need sys-admin duties, it's up to them to learn how to do it themselves, or get someone else to do it.

For family, I would probably only give it to someone for whom I'd be willing to do some set-up stuff, and who I'd trust not to abuse the privilege.

VorFemme

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I've done a clean install on a brand new hard drive - nothing on there connecting it to ME - NOTHING.  It's listed on Ubokia, now, as well as Craigslist.

Windows Vista Business 32 bit on a Dell Latitude D630 3 gb RAM, 250 gb WD Scorpio Black, 2.5GHz, Bluetooth, etc. & so forth down the list - with a comment about an nVidia monitor with 4.0 Windows Experience Index (or whatever that field is called), fully updated, and so forth & so on again.  I have  box for the buyer but will NOT ship, according to Craigslist (they can ship it to anyone that they want to after they buy it).

I will ship on Ubokia - but ONLY after I get paid. 

I have the monitor stand and docking station listed and photos in the Craigslist ad - but not Ubokia.  I don't mind driving it somewhere but it makes for a heavy box to ship!
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Slartibartfast

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I think the biggest advantage of selling/giving a computer to family is I feel comfortable with not *quite* as thorough a scrub as I would to sell it someone else.  This assumes you trust your family member to not go mucking around in the deleted files and not give/sell the computer to someone you don't know, that is :)  For family, I am comfortable just deleting my own files and leaving the operating system and programs intact.  For a stranger, I've always taken out the hard drive (for desktops) but I guess it's more complicated than that for a laptop.

VorFemme

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Depends on the laptop - the Dell Latitude D series is two screws on the bottom and the hard drive slides right out, then one more screw to take the caddy off.  An older HP takes a total of four screws (but with 256 mb of RAM upgradeable to 512 mb of DDR RAM - why bother replacing the ten to eleven year old hard drive?).

At the other end of the spectrum - there is a 20 gb hard drive in a ten year old Toshiba(?) that I would have to disassemble about 2/3 to 3/4 of the laptop to get to the hard drive to scrub it.  It would be easier to use it for target practice with a gun or otherwise break the danged thing.  But - it had tax info on it, so I have to do SOMETHING before getting rid of it.  Even if it is a "bit out of date"!

I love Dell Latitude D-series...........which is why I have two monitor stands, two docking stations, and I've had a D410, two D620s, and now selling the third D630 (turned out that my spare installation disk for Windows 7 64 bit had been activated by mistake - durn my own hide - it wasn't supposed to be hooked up to the internet to activate - but apparently at some time, it did - and once activated, it is tied to that computer......which I don't think I still have access to, I don't know if is the D620 that I sold to VorGuy to replace one stolen or the one I sold to a guy off Craigslist.......). 

I really don't want to ask Microsoft which computer it was, either.  Embarrassing..........
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?