A method for determining the configuration of a hardware item use with an online auction system is disclosed. The configuration is determined by sending a unique code to the manufacturer that manufactured the hardware and receiving configuration data corresponding to the hardware. The configuration is further determined by executing configuration utility software that analyzes the hardware using diagnostic routines as well as analyzing the operating system registry for hardware information. Re-use of components in the old computer system in a new computer system is also disclosed for maximizing total value of the purchase of a new computer system by re-using high value components. The method retrieves the street price corresponding to the old computer system and subtracts the price from the new computer price without the reused components in order to minimize the cost of the transaction. A computer system for receiving configuration data and submitting an auction description to an online auction site is further disclosed.