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Windows 10 is a good operating system for some people but we prefer the less invasive and simpler Windows 7 and with Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 in early 2020, buying a backup Windows 7 computer before there weren't any more available seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, we waited too long to start searching and weren't able to find a new Windows 7 computer so we bought a couple of Dell Windows 7 refurbished computers instead - an Optiplex 9020 desktop and a Latitude 6430 laptop. We'll take a look at the laptop in this post.
The laptop came with a battery charger, Windows 7 Pro 64-bit operating system, an Intel i-5 third generation processor, (1) USB 2 and (2) USB 3, VGA, Ethernet, eSATA , and mini-HDMI ports, DVD-ROM drive, and wireless capabilities (802.11 n), but there was no Bluetooth. It has 8 GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD hard drive. The image below shows the refurbished Windows 7 laptop.
The inventory on the Dell site changes fairly quickly so if you don't see anything at first glance try again in a day or two, or even a few hours later because the cheaper refurbished laptops usually sell quickly. Once you purchase the laptop you'll get an immediate order confirmation from Dell, but they batch process orders so don't get too stressed if you don't hear from them again for a few days. Once the laptop is shipped they'll email you a tracking number. The image below shows a screenshot of a Dell Refurbished laptop page. Dell makes it very easy to narrow down the search results using filters. The only filters applied were "A" cosmetic grade and Windows 7 Pro operating system. You can get a laptop's detailed specs by clicking the 'Learn More' button.
The refurbished Dell Latitude was priced at $249 with an $18 shipping charge. You may or may not have to pay tax depending on your State's tax rules. We had to pay tax so the total came to $282. There's a 30-day return window and a 100-day warranty with an extended one-year warranty available for an additional $49. Both of the computers we bought were shipped from Tennessee via FedEx. Most of the refurbished computers on the market are several years old so if you need a specific port to hook up your computer to a television, or if you need a specific wireless frequency or Bluetooth capabilities, be sure to check the specifications. The manufacturers are refurbishing the computers to their original condition, not to today's standards.
There were no manufacturers that still carried brand new Windows 7 computers in 2019, so Amazon was our first choice in the beginning when we were looking for new W7 computers instead of refurbished, but it quickly became very frustrating searching through the listings. The listings would have Windows 7 in the title but invariably it turned out that the laptop had W10, not W7; or that we'd need to downgrade from Windows 10 which isn't the same as getting Windows 7 pre-installed. For example, this Lenovo ThinkPad L460 looked good with 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, but reading through the product description you'd discover it's a Windows 10 downgrade.
This HP ProBook G3 with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD also looked good for the price and the product description said Windows 7 comes pre-installed, but if you look through the Q&A someone asked whether it came with Windows 7 or Windows 10, and two buyers said W7, but four buyers said W10. If you have the time to research Amazon can offer decent deals, but be sure to check all the specs to see which operating system you're getting and if you're not sure, ask a question before buying. As much as we like Amazon, we gave up on buying a new Windows 7 machine and once we decided to buy refurbished, buying from a manufacturer made more sense.
We went with Dell simply because they had a larger selection of Windows 7 refurbished computers than the other manufacturers. Acer had several Windows 7 laptops but no desktops, and Hewlett-Packard didn't have any Windows 7 machines at all, and HP doesn't seem to have any filter to select only Windows 7 for the search results. The Dell refurbished computers are sold by Dell Financial Services which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dell, Inc. The website is Dell Refurbished and they also have another site called Dell Auction that might be worth a look. They usually have some coupons available so check the Dell coupon page before searching. Acer has a separate Acer Recertified website for refurbished computers, and HP has both an HP Refurbished website and an HP Factory Store website. If you don't mind Windows 10, you have plenty of choices when it comes to buying a refurbished computer, including Best Buy and Walmart.
Here's an unboxing and basic review of the Windows 7 Dell Latitude 6430 refurbished laptop: