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What is a Refurbished Computer?
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A refurbished computer is one that has been 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 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 right amount of memory?  Adjust as needed. Are all of the capacitors healthy and intact? Are the optical drive(s) of the right type and do they open and close normally?  Replace as needed. Since hard drives are removed from donated computers the technician selects a hard drive from the inventory or wiped drives. When the hardware checkout is complete the technician then will access the computer BIOS to ensure that the settings are correct. o Make sure that the memory is being 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 process called sysprep to load Windows 7 onto the hard drive.  Sysprep is a set of Microsoft developed software tools that allows Windows 7 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 make sure that all of the hardware drivers have been installed and are working.  If there are missing drivers, the technician will locate and install them. The next step is installing the programs that are included on each computer.  The following software is installed: o Microsoft Security Essentials (anti-virus) o Firefox browser o 7 Zip (file compression software) o Thunderbird (email client) o Sumatra (a pdf reader) o Open Office (open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages). Run Microsoft updates so that Windows 7 and all of the hardware devices have the latest security patches and updated drivers. Check the Message Center to make sure all outstanding problems have been resolved. Adjust the screen resolution to fit the computer graphics card. Test an audio CD and a copyrighted DVD movie to ensure that they both will play automatically. Final Inspection and activation - Desktops Examine the interior and exterior of the computer and clean as needed. The final step is to obtain the Product Key from Microsoft and the Certificate of Authenticity is affixed to the computer.  Final step is online activation through Microsoft. And lastly, the name of the tech volunteer who refurbished the computer is affixed to the back of the computer. Laptop Quality Assurance 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 tech.  Since laptops have additional functionality and are somewhat more difficult to refurbish, we want to make sure that when laptops are offered to clients, they are fully functional.  Therefore, they also undergo the following tests: o Testing the battery to evaluate whether the laptop can run at least an hour on the battery alone. o Does the WiFi work and is it able to see the WiFi signals and connect successfully. o Place a document on the desktop which explains how to connect to a WiFi router.