Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How used is that PC

Another thought crossed my mind as I'm considering picking up a used PC and that is how used is it. After you get past the general specs that are acceptable for the used PC you are looking to buy wouldn't it be nice to know what shape the system is in. Well the best idea I have been able to come up with so far is using anyone of a number of tools that check the S.M.A.R.T stats on the Hard Drive. In particular S.M.A.R.T. tracks the power on hours for a hard drive. So far HDDlife which has a free and Pro version fits the bill. Here is a sample of the information that HDDlife provides, it's particularly nice for the purpose of determining how used a PC is because it does the calculation of converting the S.M.A.R.T. attribute for power on hours into days, weeks, months and years.

In addition you can see that S.M.A.R.T. tracks a number of aspects on the hard drive and a tool like HDDlife can tell you about the overall health of the hard drive. So this doesn't answer everything you would like to know about how used a PC is but it gives you a decent idea. Now for a system you buy from a local reseller this works fine but I wonder if any of the online refurbished PC sellers would run this tool for you on the systems they have in stock.

In case you are wanting to learn more about S.M.A.R.T. the Wikipedia entry on this subject contains a lot of details. Also the Wikipedia entry has links to a number of other hard drive utilities for both PC's and Mac's that process S.M.A.R.T. attributes.

If you have other tools you use to check out used PC's or Mac's let me know. What has your experience been buying used systems? Do you have a favorite online reseller of refurbished systems and if so why? Maybe we could develop a previously owned certification process for systems. Please share your thoughts and ideas it would really help provide needed information for those who for whatever reason are considering buying a refurbished system.


Karl L. Gechlik said...

I didn't know you can track that directly from the smart status!

Thanks! I learn something new everyday... Sometimes it causes me to forget other things :)

Jim said...


Your welcome and thanks for the comment. What tools do you use to check out used PC's/Mac's?