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Second Hand Laptops


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I'm currently looking for a new laptop to use separately from my personal laptop. I'm currently looking to advanced my Software Testing career into Penetration Testing so am doing a number of courses such as EC-Councils CEHv8, CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+. I'm assuming that I'll need to learn to use the tools etc which is why I don't want to use my personal laptop. This is due to having a Mac with a Windows 8 partition but am worried that due to inexperience with these tools that I could effectively leave my laptop open to exploit especially since I can still access the Mac partition from the Windows side.

Is there any reservations about buying a second-hand laptop? I've always bought new and I know that second-hand hard drives are pretty much a no, no - well definitely for me anyway. The main question I have is that should I be worried about using a second-hand laptop with a brand new hard (installed by me) because I don't know what it's previously been used for?

Also if anyone can provide insight into using my own laptop I'd appreciate that as I'd like to use that if I could.

P.S. I know that Lunux is a big player in here so will be looking to install that somewhere at somepoint too.

Thanks in advance :)

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I think you're being somewhat overly concerned here. Sure, get a second-hand one to cut the costs a bit, but it's not required to replace the hd. Just do a full wipe then reinstall from a known-good source. Since this will become your pentesting lab, at least in the near term, why bother with a laptop though? Are you expected to bring your laptop to these courses? If not, you're probably better off getting a (second hand) PC and working on that. Much easier/cheaper to gear the hardware to your specific needs.

There are a few topics here that talk about setting up your own security/pentesting lab on the cheap. Just use the search function to find them. I'm sure you'll find them enlightening.

If you want to use your own laptop, which should pose no problems either I might add, use virtual machine software such as the free VirtualBox to set that up. Your host OS won't be available to it unless you specifically configure it for that.

Edit: Forum topic on the security/pentesting lab

Edited by Cooper
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Thanks v. much for this Cooper. The reason I stated a laptop is that I currently don't have space for a PC at the moment as I'm in between houses due to personal circumstances. A PC would be the best option, I agree, but I'd need to be living somewhere on a permanent basis for that which should be not so long in the future - I hope.

I wasn't aware of the virtual box as of yet but will look into those details further. I did have a look for pen testing stuff on here before ansking but if I'm being honest I wasn't really sure in what I was searching for other than should I use a second-hand laptop :).

Thanks for the clarification, it's appreciated and will now do some searching on the topics you've given me and check that link out.

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