Buying electronics secondhand long has held a stigma that many electronics users aren’t quite ready to move beyond.

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There’s no denying that being the first one to use a piece of technology can be satisfying.

Even I have some satisfaction from pulling the protective plastic coverings off screens that have not been used previously.

But what does used mean today in the computer world?

A great deal of this definition depends on whether the product was restored or refurbished professionally.

If the refurbishment is done correctly, the information technology professional has wiped the hard drive clean, checked all of the internal workings of the device and put a fresh load of an operating system such as Windows back onto the hard drive.

If the device is being sold by an individual on Craigslist or Facebook, there more than likely are things that will need to be done in order for the device to function correctly without the risk of an existing virus infecting your files.

That said, it is always a better idea to look at items that are defined as “refurbished.” These items are sold, generally speaking, by companies that perform the refurbishments in house.

However, these items vary in age and usage — some of the products that are sold as refurbished are merely extra stock from corporations that have discarded the devices before anyone had a chance to use them.

The key in dealing with refurbished products is to be knowledgeable. Here are some quick tips to avoid buyer’s remorse when it comes to refurbished purchases:

  • Any Windows operating system older than Windows 7 is now obsolete. Windows 7 and 10 are the only operating systems being supported — don’t buy anything that isn’t supported by Microsoft!
  • Processing speed also is a factor. Understand that any Celeron processor is likely to be slow. Some of these processors are slower than the processor in the average cell phone.
  • The words “factory refurbished” or “factory re-certified” are good indications that the device has been refurbished correctly.

If you want to be entirely certain the product you are buying is up to par, check in with your local computer store.