Best Refurbished Desktop Computer Deals

If you are willing to go with a refurbished computer, you will save several hundred dollars, but the computer will only have a 90 day warranty so that needs to be weighed against possible repair costs down the line.

2018 HP Compaq Elite 6300 Tower Business Desktop Computer, Intel Quad-Core i5-3470 up to 3.60GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 500GB HDD, DVD, WiFi, USB 3.0, Windows 10 Professional (Certified Refurbished)

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Computer processors (CPU’s)are really, really fast. Standard hard drives are really, really slow in comparison. If computers handled and processed data by writing and reading directly from the hard drive, computers would be extremely slow too, because the hard drive couldn’t keep up with the processor’s speed.

RAM (memory) is there to address this problem. It’s a place where data is temporarily stored that is really really fast. The processor can read and write to and from RAM to run programs, view web pages, and cache video, leaving the hard drive to store permanent files like documents, photos and music.

This HP Compaq Elite computer has a very fast Intel Core i5-3470 CPU, with 4 cores. The more cores there are, the more tasks can be running at the same time. So a quad core CPU like this can handle several tasks at once without bogging down.

The computer comes with 8GB of DDR3 RAM. This large amount of memory allows the computer to keep lots of things available to access very quickly. For example, more RAM means you can have more tabs open in your web browser before the computer starts to slow down.

Windows 10 (64 bit) and your programs are installed on a 256GB SSD hard drive. These drives are incredibly fast (roughly 100 times faster than standard SATA hard drives) because they have no moving parts that need to spin. They are also not affected by vibration, heat or damage from dropping- but they are more expensive. This is a similar type of storage used in digital cameras and smartphones, only on a larger scale.

Audio is High Definition with Realtek ALC221 codec SRS Premium Sound, with a microphone and a headphone jack. For ports, this computer has 4 USB 3.0, 6 USB 2.0, 1 serial, port, 2 PS/2 ()older mouse and keyboard connectors), 1 VGA (blue standard video connector)  1 ,DisplayPort (newer video connector), 1 RJ-45 (network connector) and built in Wi-Fi. Also has a DVD drive.

For the money this system has a very fast CPU and SSD hard drive and ample memory for multitasking.

Dell Optiplex 990 Tower Premium Business Desktop Computer (Intel Quad-Core i5-2400 up to 3.4GHz, 16GB DDR3 Memory, 2TB HDD + 120GB SSD, DVD, WiFi, Windows 10 Professional) (Certified Refurbished)

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Designed for professionals, small businesses and college students with  high-end performance computing needs, this Dell Optiplex 990 Tower brings serious computing power to help you manage even your most demanding multitasking. Featuring an Intel Quad-Core i5-2400 3.1GHz CPU processor and 16GB DDR3 RAM it is capable of delivering super fast speed and super efficiently managing any demanding operations


For hard drive storage space, It has 2 hard drives. A super fast 120GB SSD for Windows and programs, and a huge 2TB 7200 rpm standard SATA hard drive for storing your files. 

It also includes a DVD ROM, USB Keyboard, Mouse, Integrated Audio, 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet RJ45 LAN; 10 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x Ethernet port, 1 x VGA port, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x audio out jack, 1 x line-in jack, 1 x microphone jack. Also includes a USB Wi-Fi adapter for wireless capability. 

It’s designed to flawlessly handle your everyday computing or entertainment needs such as listening to music, watching or downloading files.

Refurbished Dell Gamer / Intel Quad Core i5 3.1GHz Windows 7 Pro / 24GB RAM / “NEW” 256GB Solid State Drive SSD / WiFi / Desktop Computer + 1GB HDMI NVIDIA

Refurbished Dell Gamer / Intel Quad Core i5 3.1GHz Windows 7 Pro / 24GB RAM / “NEW” 256GB Solid State Drive SSD / WiFi / Desktop Computer + 1GB HDMI NVIDIA

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Fast Intel Core i5-2300 3.1GHz Processor with 24GB High Quality DDR3 RAM & Huge *NEW* 256GB Solid State Drive with 2 year Manufacturer Warranty. The system comes Pre-installed with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Operating Syste.

Also includes an nVIDIA GeForce 1GB HDMI video card. This gives you the option of dual monitor capability as well as some RAM dedicated to video processing. Plus Microsoft Office 2007 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher & More).

HP Z210 Workstation Desktop Tower Intel Core i7 3.4GHz 16GB 240GB SSD Windows 10 Pro (Certified Refurbished)

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Processor: Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz (Up to 3.8GHz Turbo Boost)
Memory: 16GB DDR3 RAM
Hard Drive: 240GB SSD (Solid State Drive)
Video: Intel FirePro 3D Graphics V3800
Audio: HD Realtek ALC261
Networking: Intel WG82574L Gigabit
Optical Drive: DVD+/-RW
Accessories Included: HP Keyboard, Mouse, Power Cord


Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7400, 12GB DDR4, 2TB HDD, Windows 10 Home

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  • 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7400 Processor (Up to 3.5GHz)
  • 12GB DDR4 2400MHz Memory
  • 2TB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 3 – USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports (2 Front, 1 Rear)
  • 4 – USB 2.0 Ports (Rear)
  • 1 x HDMI Port and 1 x VGA Port
  • 8X DVD-Writer Double-Layer Drive (DVD-RW)
  • USB Keyboard and Mouse
  • Windows 10 Home

The Best External USB Hard Drives For Backing Up Your Computer

A good backup is like an insurance policy for your files. If you are infected with a virus, if the hard drive crashes or fails, or if you just accidentally delete your files, a thorough and recent backup can be a life saver.


External USB hard drives come in various sizes, styles and configurations. There are the larger desktop sized hard drives designed to be set up and kept in one location, but be aware these usually require a power cable in addition to the USB cable.  The there are the smaller 2.5 inch external hard drives that are much smaller and lighter and are usually powered via the USB cable itself. These are much more portable and will easily fit in a laptop bag, backpack or purse.

You can see the size difference between the 3.5 inch desktop drive and the smaller, more portable 2.5 inch drive. Desktop drives come in larger capacities, but usually require a separate power supply.


External USB drives generally connect with some type of USB cable. USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cables are the same size and shape on the end that goes in your computer, and work in the same ports, but USB 3.0 devices are capable of faster file transfer speeds. If  you’re not sure if you have any USB 3.0 ports, look and see if you have any blue USB ports on your computer.

Here you can see the different types of USB connections common in external hard drives.


Blue cables and blue connectors are an easy way to distinguish 3.0 devices and cabled from 2.0 devices. Either way, USB 3.0 drives are backward compatible to work in a 2.0 port, they will simply run at the slower 2.0 transfer speed. Some newer drives may connect with USB 3.1 cables (USB-C) , but your computer needs to have a USB 3.1 port in order to use them.

This chart above from can give you an idea how much storage you need. The estimate is calculated based on average file sizes- professional photographers will use more space per photo for example, especially if they shoot in RAW mode. People will movie collections should know that movies can be in various formats that range in size. But the graphic is a good indicator for the average person’s files.

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This is a USB 3.0 1TB hard drive that works with both Apple MAC OSX and Windows PC’s. It comes with a free trial of WD SmartWare Pro auto and cloud backup software, or you can use the backup software of your choice. It is one of the smaller drives, measuring 4.4 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches and weighing only 4.8 ounces. This is perfect for the average person’s needs and works well for backing up both desktop and laptops. Also available in 2TB, 3TB and 4TB sizes.



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This is another 1TB USB 3.0 external hard drive, but this one is specifically designed to stand up to the rigors of travel. The casing is made of specialized rubber with a custom suspension system to reduce damage from accidents. The drive passed both crush testing and transit drop testing to US military MIL-STD-810G standards. It’s also resistant to being sprayed by water, which should protect against spills. If you are prone to accidents or just want the extra peace of mind, this is the drive for you. Also available in 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 5TB sizes.


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This 4TB USB 3.0 desktop style hard drive includes an NTFS driver that allows it to be used by both Windows and MAC computers interchangeably. It also includes a 2 port USB hub so you can plug USB devices directly in to the hard drive, including cell phones and tablets. And the ports will work for charging even if the computer is turned off. The hub is especially helpful if the ports on your desktop computer are hard to access or if your laptop computer doesn’t have many USB ports. If you install the Seagate Mobile Backup app on IOS or Android devices, you can back up to this drive from those devices via the cloud. Available in 4TB, 6TB and 8TB sizes.


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8TB of storage space in this desktop drive, but it weighs a little over 2 pounds so it’s certainly made to be left in one place. It connects via USB 3.0 and works with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 right out of the box with no drivers to install.


Any of these drives will be helpful in setting up a backup system for your personal or business files.


Repair or Replace?

All hardware will fail at some point. The typical lifespan of both laptop and desktop computers is in the 3-5 year range, and according to this study by Backblaze, 90% of hard drives will last 3 years, but after that there’s a 12% chance per year that your drive will die (always keep current backups).

If this is your home computer, you may want to make different choices than if these are business computers. Often you can delay replacing a home computer until a good deal comes along, and you may have other devices to fill the void in the meantime if you are waiting for a repair. But in business, time lost waiting for a repair can offset any potential savings.

So should you repair or replace?

This handy infographic by Lexicon Technologies shows there can be a decent amount of money saved when making the right choice between repairing and replacing broken technology.


VLC- The only Media Player You Will Ever Need

At some point, everyone runs into a problem opening a multimedia file (usually a video) . VLC player can solve most of these problems. It has a simple interface that’s very user friendly, but also enough extra features to keep you happy if you’re an advanced user. You can drag and drop music or videos into the player, use the file menu to open them, or click on them in Windows explorer once you have selected VLC as your default player for that file type.

The basic VLC interface. You can drag and drop any audio or video file right into the player or use the File menu.
The basic VLC interface. You can drag and drop any audio or video file right into the player or use the File menu.


Multimedia files are coded a certain way when they are created, and your multimedia software decodes them. This is done using software called a CODEC, which stands for CODE/DECODE. Widows comes with some codecs by default for the file types most used by windows. As you install other multimedia software, like CD and DVD burning software,  Itunes, or other media players,  you pick up new codecs and expand the file types your computer knows how to open and play.

There are all-in-one codec packs out there on the internet that try to provide all the codecs you will ever need for every possible file type, but they often come bundled with toolbars and other unwanted software. You don’t want that junk cluttering up your computer.

VLC player comes with a slew of codecs built in, and no configuration is needed to get them to work. VLC will open all the common audio and video filetypes and includes support for subtitle files.

A list of video file types VLC will play for each Operating System. Courtesy of
A list of video file types VLC will play for each Operating System. Courtesy of


VLC includes support for subtitle files if your video includes them. Even if you’re not going to watch something in a different language the subtitles can be useful. I’ve used them when my infant son was asleep and I couldn’t have the sound at my normally preferred earth shattering volume. They can also be used to decipher the dialogue in scenes that are just plain hard to hear.

Turning on subtitles is easy. Right click on the video and navigate the menus to Subtitle->Sub Track-> and then your language,
Turning on subtitles is easy. Right click on the video and navigate the menus to Subtitle->Sub Track-> and then your language,


One of my favorite features is the equalizer, under the extended settings button. There are separate controls for both audio and video tweaking.  I use this for brightening up older videos or home videos that are not the highest digital quality, but there are dozens of options starting with the basic brightness, contrast, saturation, hue and gamma controls. But it was also let you make the image negative, turn it sepia, rotate it, and even add a logo or watermark to it. Not bad for a free program!

Before the equalizer is used, the picture is fairly dark.
Before the equalizer is used, the picture is fairly dark.


The above image is before using the equalizer on the video. You can see the difference below after a few minor tweaks to brightness, contrast, gamma and saturation.

The red arrow points to the equalizer button. You can see a notable difference once I've tinkered with the settings.
The red arrow points to the equalizer button. You can see a notable difference once I’ve tinkered with the settings.


In the event that your audio and video are not matching up, there’s a submenu here for synching them together.

Easily fix audio and video that are out of synch
Easily fix audio and video that are out of synch


And VLC player give you the option to take a screenshot of any part of your video. Just go to the video menu and look all the way at the bottom.

Capture an image of the screen by using the Take Snapshot option in the Video menu
Capture an image of the screen by using the Take Snapshot option in the Video menu


You can set the default save location, file type and naming scheme for your snapshots under the Tools -> Preferences -> Video menu, shown highlighted here.

Snapshot settings
Snapshot settings


There are literally hundreds of other features to explore if you are into that sort of thing. Or maybe you want to simply watch a  movie and not have to do anything but click and drag. Either way, VLC player is the best free media player to suit your needs.


Should I Remove it?

One of the duties I perform most often for customers is cleaning out unwanted programs from their computers. Sometimes they are afraid to delete the program because they’re not sure if they may need it and other times they simply don’t know how to remove the program.

This is where Should I Remove It comes in. This small, free program scans your system and then helps you decide which programs to keep and which ones to trash.


The next screen lists the programs you have installed on your computer, and displays a bar graph that shows which programs other users have uninstalled.  In my example, many users have chosen to uninstall the toolbar (a wise choice!).


Click the uninstall button and walk through the uninstallation of your program.



Your computer now has a little less clutter installed on it.