What is a refurbished computer?
A refurbished computer is one that has been digitally wiped of any previous data, installing all new software and thoroughly inspected to ensure that all of the hardware and software that we install are working properly. So, what is involved in this process? Desktop and laptop computers The first thing the technician does is a physical inspection of the computer. Is the computer case intact and not missing any components? Does the computer have the correct amount of memory? Are all of the capacitors healthy and intact? Are the optical drive(s) of the right type and do they open and close normally? Since the hard drives have been previously removed from donated computers the technician selects a hard drive from the inventory of previously wiped hard drives. When the hardware checkout is complete the technician will access the computer BIOS to ensure that the settings are correct. o Make sure that the memory is correctly recognized. o Check that the hard drive and CD/DVD drive is noted correctly. o Adjust the time and date if needed. o Examine and correct the boot sequence if needed. The next step is to begin the software installation process. We use a Microsoft process called sysprep to load Windows onto the hard drive. Sysprep allows the Windows operating system, with all current updates, to be installed on any computer. Operating System and Software Installation After the hard drive is installed, the computer is booted up for the first time. Once Windows has finished the initial stages of installation, the technician will examine the Device Manager to ensure that all of the drivers have been installed and that they are working.  Any missing drivers will be located and installed. The next step is installing the programs that are included with the computer.  The following software is installed: o Chrome as the default browser. o 7 Zip (file compression software) o Sumatra (pdf reader) o Open Office (an open source and free alternative to Microsoft Office that includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, database and more). o Antivirus software, called Windows Defender, is included as part of Windows 10. Run Microsoft updates so that Windows 10 and all of the hardware devices have the latest security patches and updated drivers. Check the Message Center to make sure all of the outstanding issues have been resolved. Test an audio CD and a copyrighted DVD movie to ensure that both will play properly. Final Inspection and activation - Desktops Examine the interior and exterior and clean as needed. The next step is to obtain the Windows 10 Product Key from Microsoft and the Certificate of Authenticity is affixed to the computer and then Windows is activated online through Microsoft. The final step is to attach a label to the computer with the name of the volunteer who worked on the computer. All desktops also get a Quality Assurance assessment by another technician using a 3 page checklist to make sure that everything was done properly. Final Inspection and activation - Laptops All laptops go through the same refurbishing process as desktop computers, but they also go through an additional examination, involving a 17 point checklist, by a second technician.  Since laptops have additional functionality and are somewhat more difficult to refurbish, we want to make sure that when a laptop is completed, it is fully functional.  Therefore, they undergo the following additional tests: o Testing the battery to make sure that it can run at least one hour on the battery alone. o Does the WiFi work, is it able to ‘see’ the networks and connect successfully. o Place a document on the desktop which explains how to connect to a WiFi router.
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