Buying & Selling Used Macintoshes.

Via Email IconThis question came in during the show last night via email from Rob…

“I just bought a used G5. The machine works fine, but I was wondering if I should have it tested. In addition, all of the software remaining is registered to the prior owner. Any recommendations how I should deal with the registration issues?”

Before I answer Rob’s questions, I first want to advise whoever it was that sold him the computer, or any of you that decide to sell a computer… to please, please, please… for your own protection… execute a thorough erasing of all your hard drives before letting that old computer walk out the door… the only thing that should be left when you turn over the keys would be a fresh install of the most current version of OS X that you’re able to provide. That way, the person nice enough to have bought your machine will have a fresh canvas to make his/her own.

As to Rob’s questions, I’ll start with the software registration issues. I was pretty sure I already knew the answer, but I put a call in to Adobe Systems just to be sure…

Say you bought a G5 that had Photoshop CS3 installed on it, registered to the previous owner… you’re allowed to legally use that version (CS3) of the software, on that machine for as long as you’d like… But you don’t have the serial number, so you won’t be able to get tech support, nor will you be able to buy an upgrade (to CS4) at the reduced rate that existing owners of the software are afforded. I suspect this will be the case no matter which companies software you have on your new (old) machine.

And just for the record, the serial number that Photoshop will show you is just the first 20-digits of the actual serial number. The full 24-digit serial number would only be found as part of the original software packaging, typically on the inside front cover of the user manual. Now if the G5’s previous owner had also given you this original packaging, which I sincerely doubt, that would in effect transfer ownership of that software over to you. 

So what software is on your new machine?

And how much do you want to keep it?

If it were mine… the first thing I’d want to do would be what I mentioned up above… zero all data on all hard drives followed by a fresh installation of the current version of OS X… Which is my answer to your first question on whether your computer needs to be “tested”… Nothing to test it for… if it’s working fine than it’s working fine… however you’ll be at a much better starting point if you follow my recommendation to reset the G5 to its factory state.

If you’re looking to keep the software that’s on the machine you just bought however, there’s numerous ways you could proceed. If that’s the case, please continue the conversation by commenting on this post. If there’s an interest, I’ll lay some of those strategies out as well.

And last, as it’s relevant to keeping your Mac in top working order… the premier diagnostic tool available for OS X in my opinion would be Tech Tool from Micromat… 100 of the best dollars I’ve ever spent (although their upgrade prices are a little steep at $59)…

Hoping that helped.

All for now.


2 Responses to “Buying & Selling Used Macintoshes.”

  1. Gayle Says:

    I found this in the archives when searching for an answer. I am looking to buy Adobe Creative Suite CS or CS2 on ebay or amazon. I have seen on several listings where the software has bee unregistered or deactivated. After reading the above am I correct does this mean when I purchase with the packaging and serial number that I can register it for updates tech support and upgrades. I don’t think I will be able to listen to the show Wednesday night. If you could email your response I would appreciate it. Thank you so much for your help.

  2. Gayle Says:

    The archive I am referring to was on Feb 5, 2009

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