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Buying a used laptop with no hard drive- how do I check that it works?

Hey guys, there's a pretty sweet deal on craigslist for a laptop that I want to buy. The only problem is that it doesn't come with a hard drive. That's no problem, because I have several laying around- but I want to make sure that the thing works before I walk out with it (I'll never get my money back if it doesn't). I just don't want to have to take over the hard drive and install it, install windows, check out the laptop (and if it doesn't work, remove the hdd, etc etc).

I'm not terribly familiar with linux- I have Mint dual booted on one of my other machines, but I never use it. I was thinking maybe of installing pendrivelinux onto a flash drive and booting from that. I just don't know of any way to "stress test" the system in linux (and do it fast). Does anyone have any ideas for me?
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about buying laptop hard drive check works
  1. Yeah.. try running linux off of a cd..
  2. Yeah, but, what kind of diagnostics would I run? In windows, i'd run prime95 and memtest or something just to check that the system is OK. (Maybe he spilled gatorade in it, and it works until you try to load a threshold amount into the memory- that happened to me once.)
  3. Best answer
    I recommend doing these tests:

    1) boot to an Ubuntu CD/DVD (tests screen and basic machine operation)

    2) run MEMTEST to test the System RAM (at least 5 minutes. use Memtest disc or from Ultimate Boot CD)

    3) run CPU burnin (Ultimate Boot CD)

    4) Inputs and Outputs:
    - USB (try the same mouse in each)
    - VGA/DVI or HDMI outputs (hook up an external MONITOR)
    - headphone jack (headphones or desktop speakers; try an audio CD in Ubuntu?)
    - CD or DVD (data is easiest, just to see that it reads)

    Without doing long, extensive testing it's best to simply check out the SCREEN, System RAM, and CPU.

    Most everything is checked doing these three tasks. Obviously you can get more detailed but that takes time.

    The only thing not really confirmed is the hard drive connection.

    http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

    www.memtest.org
  4. Also, if your getting this computer for gaming... you might want to read up about the GPU online.. see if it's suitable...
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html

    Use that link to find the specific GPU model. Once you found it, click it, browse to the bottom of the page where there are benchmarks displayed. the greener the bar, the better the performance.
  5. Best answer selected by Robanada.
  6. photonboy said:
    I recommend doing these tests:

    1) boot to an Ubuntu CD/DVD (tests screen and basic machine operation)

    2) run MEMTEST to test the System RAM (at least 5 minutes. use Memtest disc or from Ultimate Boot CD)

    3) run CPU burnin (Ultimate Boot CD)

    4) Inputs and Outputs:
    - USB (try the same mouse in each)
    - VGA/DVI or HDMI outputs (hook up an external MONITOR)
    - headphone jack (headphones or desktop speakers; try an audio CD in Ubuntu?)
    - CD or DVD (data is easiest, just to see that it reads)

    Without doing long, extensive testing it's best to simply check out the SCREEN, System RAM, and CPU.

    Most everything is checked doing these three tasks. Obviously you can get more detailed but that takes time.

    The only thing not really confirmed is the hard drive connection.

    http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

    www.memtest.org


    Ah, excellent. I will definitely do this!

    Anonymous said:
    Also, if your getting this computer for gaming... you might want to read up about the GPU online.. see if it's suitable...
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html

    Use that link to find the specific GPU model. Once you found it, click it, browse to the bottom of the page where there are benchmarks displayed. the greener the bar, the better the performance.


    No, but thanks for the advice. I'm never really in a situation where I need to game on the go, so a desktop fulfills all of my needs (runs cooler, cheaper, better graphics for the money, easier to upgrade, etc). I'm going to use this laptop exclusively for djing- so i need to make sure it won't BSOD when I'm infront of ~500 people (similar thing happened once) >.<
    Thanks though!
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