Things to check on a used laptop?

shinryu

Commendable
Aug 15, 2016
2
0
1,510
0
So basically, I needed a quick replacement laptop and I ended up purchasing one out on ebay that looked like it was in good condition with the specs I wanted. Obviously with the rampant spyware and viruses out there that who knows what may have inadvertently let onto there from the previous owner, I was wondering if anyone has some ideals on what to do when I turn it on before I put my stuff on there? Is there a way to like completely erase and purge whatever might have been left on by the previous owner? I won't have the boot disc or product key or anything like that with this laptop. Are there any recommended programs out there that would help? I think I actually may have a copy of Windows 8 I think lying around that I never installed on another PC (it's Windows 7 and this was back when they were offering it for free to upgrade so I downloaded it to a USB thumb drive), but I have no clue if that would actually work, and I sorta wanted to keep the Windows 7 that the laptop is running.

Otherwise if not I was definitely going to download and run Malwarebytes since that normally gets a lot of stuff, but beyond that, not really sure what else I should be doing. What are some things to look for and do that would help to ensure it's safe for me to use?
 

Saga Lout

Olde English
Moderator
By all means run any scanners you can find but you'll get rid of most junk and scan more quickly if you delete the old User Account(s) after creating one of your own in Control Panel>User Accounts.

That removes all any previous folders in AppData where nasty stuff is installed too keep it away from the normal channels.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
You don't know if the system was wiped with a clean OS setup? If you don't have an OS product key with it, how will you re-install Windows if you need to? And many people will need to. Better check the description of the laptop and make sure it comes with the original Windows license key, if not on a disk, at least on the laptop case, and see how the OS was installed on it. The good sellers would sell it with a clean OS setup, no old user data or files.
 

shinryu

Commendable
Aug 15, 2016
2
0
1,510
0


Well it's more most people who don't think about these sorta things leave things on, so yeah a good seller might be nice and wipe it, your common person doesn't and then you get to figure out a safe way to.

Anyways it arrived today, and I have the product key on the bottom (windows 7), but no CD and such. Is it possible to wipe and reinstall without the CD? Or is that needed?

Edit: Ok looking at it turned on in safe mode, this poor computer must have had identity issues in its prior life, whoever used it has Dell all over it and other dell looking software, but it's a HP laptop. Does look like things were wiped, there's CC cleaner and something called ez gig iv, so googling that, I'm guessing whoever had it last cloned the hard drive it sounds like then I'd assume went through and deleted their stuff. Doesn't really tell me much still. Either that or since it was a surplus auction, some loser swapped the actual HD for one that was in a Dell or something weird? Not much of a tech guy myself, so no clue if that's even possible. No other profiles besides the main administrator one (named Dell, go figure).

Edit 2: Ok did more research, finally found the model number inside the battery compartment and this is what I came up with:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834157279

So yeah, some loser ripped out the big hard drive and threw in some crappy 55gb one instead, stupid...again I'm not a techy here, so the windows key that's written on the laptop, any way to tell if it's like good? If so, could I just to a clean install of windows somehow without the CD and just using the product key? Or would it possibly be worth it to get a larger HD and then install?
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator


Whoever sold it had a Dell OEM Windows disk that they used to install Windows. The key on it should be good, but you need to get the same Windows version as that key to install on it. I'd return the laptop unless all this, including the hard drive size was already listed. Using a Dell OEM Windows setup on an HP is against the license agreement.
 

Saga Lout

Olde English
Moderator
And it's also a possibility that the original key was issued to HP and tattooed to the BIOS so you may face activation issues.

I would go back to the seller.

That 55GB disk - is it a spinner or a solid state drive but it's not a standard size of either? It sounds more like a Partition to me in which case, there's plenty of room for Windows to move around and the rest of the disk might be enough for your storage.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
My gut feeling tells me you should get a refund.

However, you should be able to check the validity of the product in the following link which allows you download a copy of Windows 7 ISO image so that you can reinstall Win 7 as long as the key is valid. You will need to have either a USB flash drive or a DVD burner drive.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows7

After verifying that the product key is valid and creating an install USB drive, you should download all the Win 7 drivers from HP for that specific laptop and copy them to the USB drive.

At that point you should replace the 55GB drive with something that fits your needs; either a SSD or HDD. Finally, you can use the USB flash drive to install Windows 7 and then install the drivers for that laptop. You may need to go into the laptop's BIOS so that the laptop will bootup from a USB drive in order to install Win 7.
 
If you worry about virus etc, the obvious answer is, restore that puppy to FACTORY, which is kind hard if you don't have license# nor original install disc, but can order discs from vendor. Can certainly reload from an OEM Windows disc but then you will have to as step 2, replace all vendor's specific drivers.
 

Tauxi

Commendable
Aug 12, 2016
23
0
1,590
5
You can google clean install version of Windows 10

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10/

Download and run it. That would help you wipe out everything but still keep genuine copy Windows. I used it myself and got rid of every single bloatware.
 
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