Second-hand computers history. How old is it? etc...

May 17, 2012 at 17:36:04
Specs: Windows XP
How to track a second-hand computers history?
Like tracing the VIN number on a car, is there something similar pertaining to computers?

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May 17, 2012 at 19:26:51
Did you try googling the model number?

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May 17, 2012 at 19:53:20
Jeez, what kind of world do you want to live in?

The only way to uniquely ID a computer is with its serial number--if it has one. But since used computers are bought and sold without any big brother requirement to notify some government agency of those transactions that history is not there.

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May 18, 2012 at 08:01:40
The motherboard on almost every computer has some codes on it. Now the trick is to find out how to read that. Some companies might post how to read that but most do not. They don't want you to know how old it is.

Bios date may be a clue.

Hang up and live.

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May 18, 2012 at 10:06:47
You can often determine approximately how old the motherboard is by looking up the specs for the specific brand name system model it is / was in - look for when that model was first released - or if it's a generic desktop computer, by reading the manual for the specific retail mboard model - the date the manual was made, or when the manual was copyrighted, is usually near the begiining of it and is close to when the mboard model was first released.

If you have a mboard that used to be in a brand name system but you don't know what brand name system model it was in, if it hasn't fallen off over time, there is usually a stuck on label on the mboard that has the brand name's part number on it for the mboard, or for the mboard with a particular cpu installed on it - that often has bar codes on it, and it may have the brand name's name for the mboard printed on it as well (e.g. mboards that were in HP or Compaq computers often have their own name for the mboard). You can look up which brand name models that mboard part number was used in, or use their name for the mboard to look that up.

Any date that's on a label on the bios chip is usually useless. That's often merely the date the particular overall bios version was copyrighted. The mboard can't be older than that, but that may be a lot older than when the mboard model was released.

The date of the specific bios version the mboard has is usually shown on the first screen as you boot the computer, or can often be found by looking in the bios Setup, or you may need to disable showing a logo (graphical) screen while booting, or disable Quick boot or similar, in the bios Setup in order to see that on the first screen as you boot the computer.
The mboard can't be older than the date of that, but the mboard can have a much newer specific bios version than when the mboard model was first released.

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May 21, 2012 at 18:21:15
Thanks for all of the help.
Basically I was just looking to see how to tell how used/abused a computer might be.
Like a car, I just want to know if it was drivenby a little old lady to church on Sundays or by a dragster teenager.
The dust around the computer is SOME indicator.

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