options for used pc with no OS, confusion over products on EBAY


New Member
I am a real dummy with this stuff. I bought 2 used computers at auction. They are Dell OptiPlex 760, 3.16 GHz, Core2Duo, 4Gb Ram. They have been sanitized and have no operating system on them. They originally had Windows Vista on them. I have been to EBay and there are a lot of products there, but I don't understand the differences and what the sellers are trying to tell me. Even when I asked a seller a question, I didn't understand the answer.
The issues revolve around the license key. I just want to install an OS, legally and cheaply. But I don't necessarily want Vista, if I could put Windows 7 on them cheaply.
I see ones that come with a harddrive. I see one that comes with a broken motherboard, WHAT?? It is brand new in the box?? I see restoration disks, upgrade disks, disks with and without product keys, COA's. What does it all mean? What are my options and what do they cost? Thanks.


Senior Member
ebay is a big gamble which can cost you more money in the end. You're better off looking at refurb/recertified PCs from stores like Tigerdirect, etc.
If you are in doubt about those stuffs on ebay, follow your instinct.

For now try installing free Linux Mint 16 (or other distros) on those PCs to see it they are even working.


Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
I am a real dummy with this stuff. I bought 2 used computers at auction.
Anything other than a fully pre-installed and configured laptop is probably not for you really at this stage. You are in serious danger of being sold a pup and likely to have real problems getting things working. You certainly don't want to be buying anything sold for "parts or not working". I recommend you consider only laptops which are fully working and come with the operating system cleanly installed and also with means of recovering the system which means it should have a recovery image on the hard drive and/or a set of dvd's from which to recover it.

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