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johnfowles 12-09-2008 10:14 PM

el cheapo computers
 
The subject title says it all
but following a most succesful ebay auction win and purchase I thought I would pass on a tip to anybody wanting a cheap second PC or upgrade to an old PC especially if yours has failed (I am thinking of Walter the Sober Rodent/ The Stoned Borer in particular) or if you are still in the stone age and running Windows 98.
I was interested to read an article in a good techie Newsletter I receive called WXPNews written by Deb Shidler
the complete Newsletter is now online at:-
http://www.wxpnews.com/?id=357
the article's subject that caught my eye was:-
"Used PCs being bought for XP"
which said:-
"According to a recent report in PC World's Business Center, some folks are buying old computers - not for the hardware, but for the copies of Windows XP that are installed on them. Now that you can no longer buy the OS outright (although you can buy a "downgrade" license along with Vista, or buy XP installed on certain low-powered laptops), those who want to run the older operating system have to be more creative. Under the XP license, you can transfer it to someone else when you sell or give them the computer on which it's running. Just be sure you don't get stuck with a pirated version of XP instead of the real thing. Read more here:
article link


and my tip is best explained by showing the text of reply I sent to her that I fondly hoped she would use part of in her next newsletter. but issue 138 does not maybe next week??:-
____________________________________________

Subject: Used PCs being bought for XP

Hi Deb
I have been enjoying WXP news for some time and rate you pretty high on my roster of internet "benefactors" as distinct from all those perverted and lost souls ("malefactors") who have nothing better to do that write viruses and spam.
A recent brush with the entirely pointless resycled/boot.com virus entailed calling in a local expert to disinfect my mother -in-law's PC to avoid family bloodshed and he made the interesting observation that McAfee and Norton probably paid kids to write spyware etc in order to maintain sales of their expensive products!!
I noted your article entitled "Used PCs being bought for XP"
and thought I would pass on a tip to you and your readers.
As part of my own plans to remove the resycled virus from my main PC and a stack of media cards that it had in turn infected, one of which had cause me grief with my wife and M-in Law!!
I needed a clean PC on which I could, hopefully, use the DOS attrib command to delete the obnoxious resycled folder and the accompanying spurious hidden and read only "system" autorun.inf file.
I had two old PCs handy and a pile of hard drives but neither had a correctly functioning PSU (Power Supply Unit).A spare PSU also failed so I thought I would see what might be on offer on Ebay. I also looked for computers under $100.00 and found an Ebay store run by a computer recycling operation in Texas (member name erercycleronline):-
their ebay shop
the offers and prices seemed to good to be true plus free shipping so I checked the feedback and found no major complaints
Although their alleged website is:-
eebsite link
it isn't very forthcoming despite a nice screenshot on their stores page it appears to be a figment of their imagination, because although there are 7 archived copies in the Internet Archives Wayback Machine dating from 1999, 2000 and 2001 they all promise that having registered the domain their website is "coming soon" (so is Christmas by the way!), so being suspicious I googled. I did find one poster who seemed to consider the operation to be some sort of a scam but I decided to bid on one item:-
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=130270914400
and won it for the princely sum of $41.00 with free shipping plus an extra $2.00 because I omitted to uncheck the optional "insurance" box
I have now appraised my purchase and am frankly delighted and astounded:-
It has a genuine copy of XP Professional version 2002 with SP3
which I had to activate the first time I rebooted with no hassle from Microsoft's robowoman
it still has Internet Exploder 6
and a low spec Celeron of only 1.7GHz
only a small RAM 256MB
and a small Hard Drive a 2003 manufactured Western Digital (WD400 40GB)
A Mitsumi Floppy Drive
No Modem. Monitor ,Keyboard or Mouse but I had several of each that were recycled by myself from old PCs
two front panel USB sockets and in/out audio sockets
the AOpen MX46 533V Motherboard has 4 USB sockets plus a
Network Adaptor (SIS 900-based PCI Fast Ethernet Adaptor)
3 PCI sockets one AGP socket with an AGP graphics board
(NVIDIA GeForce2 MX/MX400)
Realtek AC'97 Audio
The nice cream ATX case had not a single mark on it but inside was a small quantity of dust.
The only fault so far found was a jammed LiteOn CD-ROM quickly replaced by a spare $30.00 DVD Writer so that I can burn a mirror image of the as received HD condition on a DVD-R (after 3 smallish programs including Malwarebytes installed this totals 2.37GB (too much for a CD-R)
No software discs were supplied
Outstanding value that I just do not understand how it can genuinely be "recycled"
there are as I said no marks to show where it fell off the back of a truck!!
Please feel free to use any of the above if you think it worth passing onto other punters
John Fowles in New Jersey
http://www.johnfowles.org.uk/"
_______________________________
If your PC is becoming decrepit or like Walter's is non functional, getting one of these bargains is a cheap way of upgrading, because you can of course reuse your existing Monitor, Mouse and Keyboard, and it really is not a hard job to substitute your existing hard drive for the one in the el cheapo,or you could simply leave the one in the cheapo as the "master" with its possibly better XP Pofessional Operating System and link in your existing hard drive as a "slave" so that you can still access programs and information on your existing setup as there will be in either your existing PC or the new one a cable which will have two hard drive connection blocks.
All that is then necessary is to switch your existing modem to the el cheapo.
I bet that I am not the only person here who knows about these things and can offer help if you do not understand anything in my notes above or need help to carry out the work.(if you live in Whitby ON there just might be a friendly local expert you could call on to advise and administer Aspirin to ease your aching head!!!
the auction I won is still viewable at the link I reproduced above
item # 130270914400
and the seller currently has a few other auctions going for identical units or other interesting equivalents
(or if you cannot stand the stress and waiting for an auction to end he has some on offer at a fixed "Buy It Now" price as low as $39.99
.One thing to beware of some of the cheap offers do have a have a hefty carriage charge not free shipping as mine was (the shipment was 20 pounds so the free,UPS, shipping is significent)
One important point is the question of the authenticity and legitimacy of the copy of XP installed
As the full article linked above which is actually at:-
http://www.pcworld.com/businesscente...indows_xp.html
says:-
"Buyers need to be especially wary when buying XP-based used PCs off sites like Craigslist.org and eBay, Kaplan said. Many used PCs purchased from those Web sites contain illegal versions of XP, and it is imperative to quickly check out the authenticity of Windows prior to or quickly after purchase."
the ebay auctions by erecycler state :-
"Legal Operating System
We start these pcs up and wipe the hard drive.
A fresh install of XP Pro Service pack 3 is loaded and authorized using the included Microsoft Windows Certificate of Authenticity License sticker with the Product Key. The original coa for this computer remains attached, so this computer complies with all Mircosoft Copyright and Software Licensing agreements. With this being a fresh install there are no viruses or spyware on the computer"
at this moment 8.45 PM EST on Tuesday a check at:-
http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/erecyc...dkw=&_osacat=0
reveals 4 more auctions for PCs more or less identical to mine one of which ends at Dec-09-08 21:41:44 PST
Another one has a starting bid of $5.00 with free shipping
and 2 are at a "Buy it Now" price of a mere $39.99 but the shipping is far from free

you can see the Microsoft OEM Certificate Of Authenticity lower right in this rear view of one of the auction computers
http://www.johnfowles.org.uk/images/...thenticity.jpg
and as I said the number on mine allowed me to acrivate it by phone with Microsoft

astonishing value .Only about 11 years ago I bought a 6GB/64MB/
Windoze 95 500Khz machine in the UK (a shop soiled ex a demo one) for way over $400.00!! OK it did include a keyboard mouse and monitor but wey hey those are not expensive items
if anybody has any questions feel free to PM me here


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