Thinking about getting computers for cheap? Then consider getting refurbished ones. Not only are they a whole lot cheaper, but a lot of refurbished gadgets still come with warranties. And while these items are considered “used,” Microsoft enforces several quality control rules that are applied to the refurbishment process, to ensure that the electronics are free from defects and can still perform competently.
When buying a refurbished computer, be sure to go to an authorized refurbisher. As previously mentioned, Microsoft has certain standards when it comes to refurbishing, so you should make sure that you’re doing business with someone’s who’s official and certified.
How to Buy a Refurbished PC
The guys at Microsoft gave a lot useful tips in their Authorized Refurbished guide that you can view here. According to Microsoft, “A refurbished PC sold by a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher or MAR has been cleaned of prior data, updated as needed with minor repairs or replacement of components, tested, and has genuine Microsoft Windows operating software installed on it so it is ready for a new owner.”
The first piece of advice that they gave was to “Ask the seller how the PC was refurbished.” While there a number of different ways to refurbish a PC, Microsoft has approved certain standards and practices that MARs must adhere to. Additionally, whoever refurbished the PC should also follow certain systems for data wiping and reporting, and should also conform to the standards of the Department of Defense.
However, if you come across someone who’s not an authorized refurbisher, then be sure to ask the following questions to determine if the PC was refurbished properly.
- “Who does the refurbishing and what are their standards and policies?”
- “What process is used to make sure the hard drive data has been wiped and the hard drive is virus free?
- “Where did the pre-owned PC come from and has it been upgraded with any new or used parts?”
- “What is their equipment disposal policy and are they environmentally responsible?”
Another great tip from Microsoft is to “Ask if genuine operating system software is installed.” When buying from a MAR, be sure to look for the original Certificate of Authenticity (COA) that should be attached to the PC when it was newly purchased. Additionally, you should also look for a SPECIALLY DESIGNED Windows COA for the refurbished items. The refurbished PC COA should have the MAR’s name, as well as a unique product key, product name, and a statement that reads, “For Use on Refurbished PC Only—No Commercial Value—For Authentication Purposes Only.”
Last (but certainly not the least,) when buying a refurbished PC, “Find out if you get any support, warranty, or other services.” Even if a MAR has completely complied with all above-mentioned standards, unexpected problems can still arise with your machine. This is why it’s best to find out if it comes with any sort of warranty or coverage. Be sure to ask the following questions before finalizing the sale:
- “Does the PC have a warranty, and if so, what does the warranty cover?”
- “What is the return policy?”
- “What is the return or failure rate of the PCs they sell?”
- “Do the offer technical support and is it free or fee-based?”
If you get the PC from a MAR, you’ll be able to access a free web-based operating system support from Microsoft. You can still purchase additional support on top of this, so be sure to contact the company if you need additional benefits.
Image credit: kjarrett on Flickr