If you are thinking about purchasing a used laptop, one of the things to consider is the financial outlay for software. Buying the latest and greatest Microsoft Office software can set you back considerably more than the cost of a cheap laptop itself.
A good starting point if you want to buy an inexpensive used laptop is to find the system that meets your needs for performance, and cost wise and then put together a list of the software you want to aquire. A very cost effective alternative is to find a system that comes with Windows XP and then install Office Application software that is open source or free. There are several alternatives when it comes to software for general use like word processing, and spreadsheets. My preference for free office application software is Sun Microsystems Open Office suite, Open Office The Open Office suite will give you all of the paalications for general use, that you will need for casual personal , andlight business purposes. You might also check out Google online word processing and spreadsheets http://www.google.com/google-d-s/intl/en/tour1.html for an alternative if those are the only two applications that you need.