Computers can be expensive, especially if you buy new computers. A new computer can cost you $1,500 to $2,000. Today, comma, just like back in 1993! What can a business owner with a tight budget do? He can invest in refurbished equipment. The fact is that Moore’s Law, which back in the 90s forced us to buy a new computer every two years, has pretty much slowed down.

The result is that you can now buy 15-year-old hardware, put a solid-state drive in and max out the RAM, and have a machine that will run Windows 10 very well. These machines can be had for a fraction of the cost. Typically a refurb is going to run anywhere from $100 to $500. And for $500 you’re getting a real Haas machine. $500 is not a prohibited cost for many business owners.

So, if your current computers are running badly, why not consider upgrading to ReaFer? You might even be able to upgrade your current hardware with solid-state drives and maxed-out RAM. Typically, a 1 terabyte solid state drive can be obtained for $50 to $75. RAM is also quite affordable. An 8 gig stick of RAM can be had for $30 to $40. So if you’re smart enough to do it yourself, you can handle the whole process. And spend maybe $120 and end up with what feels like a brand new screaming fast machine.

So how do you transfer your hard drive content? There are open source tools out there that will enable you to do this. The procedure is typically plugging your new solid state drive in to your computer while leaving your existing spinning drive there. Then, booting off of a Clonezilla CD or USB drive. Clonezilla is a Linux-based utility which will allow you to copy a hard drive sector by sector to a new one. The thing you have to watch out for with Clonezilla is that the hard drives need to be the same capacity. You can’t start with a 500 gig drive and copy it to a new terabyte SSD. You have to match the sizing. But if you do, the whole process takes maybe a half an hour. Then what you do is you disconnect the old spinning drive and take it out… …and let your system boot off your new solid-state drive… …and experience a sudden burst of amazing speed.

Businesses in Rogers, Bentonville, Pea Ridge, Sanderton, Avoca, Longdale, Fayetteville, Mountainburg, Greenland? Decatur, Siloam Springs, and grab it. All benefit by purchasing refurbished equipment. The computers you buy which are refurbished typically come with a one-year warranty. And if nothing bad happens in the first few months, odds are your computer is going to run reliably well for years. What about laptops? Can they benefit from buying a refurb? They certainly can.

I had a laptop which was built in 2012, which had a spinning hard drive and 8 gigs of RAM. It ran Windows 7 reasonably well. I installed Ubuntu Linux on it and it ran better. But eventually, I took that laptop and put a solid state drive in and maxed the RAM out to 16 gigs. Now, that laptop, which is 11 years old, fires up and runs and does things instantly. And it handles some pretty massive programs.

Yes, you can do it with a laptop. One thing you have to be careful of with laptops is that some of them are not very friendly to get inside. Some of them have basically been sealed up for life by the manufacturer. To get in, you have to actually break things.

Macintosh laptops are the worst. There’s hardly anything inside a Macintosh laptop that you can upgrade. In fact, you can’t even read a hard drive from a Macintosh laptop in many cases. Your only option is to ship it off and have someone copy the data. And this can be very expensive. For that reason, I warn people away from Apple. Apple does not like the user to have any control whatsoever. So, buy an Apple if you must. But keep in mind that you are now committed to going to Apple for support. And that is a very expensive proposition.

On the other hand, if you’re in the good old IBM compatible world where most of us are, you have to deal with headaches like Microsoft Windows. But you can actually deal with it. You can actually fix things. And you can actually replace things. Refurbishing old hardware is a prime example of this.

How about servers? networks. A brand new server can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. That’s money that most small businesses don’t have. What do you refer servers to? Well, you buy a server that has redundancy built in. By that I mean dual power supplies, RAID hard drives, and even dual BIOS. And dual networking, then that means if something breaks, then your machine will simply carry on until you fix it.

RAID takes several hard drives and creates volumes from them. These volumes, since they consist of multiple drives, can survive if a single drive fails. If a drive fails, you have time to order one and get it put back in, at which point the RAID will magically rebuild itself. So, if you have the opportunity to purchase a server in good physical condition at a reaffirmed price, it’s a good risk to go ahead and do it.

I have a client who’s running their business on a $1,500 server, which originally cost probably around $10,000. The only problem we’ve had in a year is two drives have failed and they were quickly replaced. We now keep a spare drive on the premises for the next time it happens. Servers come with a utility which allows you to log in and see how the hardware is doing. This utility runs completely separate from the operating system. As long as you keep checking that utility regularly for the health of your system, then you can react before something happens to take things down.