One of the reasons behind the widespread skepticism about refurbished computers and laptops is the lack of understanding about the refurbishing process. The common perception about these devices is that they have been used and the reason behind their low price is that they are being provided as second hand units. But this is not the case. Refurbished computers are gaining popularity not only due to their low costs, but also due to the availability of the latest components and support software.
Refurbishing may either be done by third party refurbishers or they could also be done by the manufacturers themselves. The latter is always better and considered to have greater authenticity as well as reliability. Check out the refurbishing process for laptops and computers below. This should help to clear the air with respect to the authenticity and quality of these devices.
Receipt of Devices and Initial Diagnostics
This is the first step in the process where devices are returned by the customer. The reason for returning the device could range from mismatch of preferences (in this case the device is still fresh and hardly used in most cases) to identification of defects in the device (in this case, the computer / laptop has been used and there may be signs of wear and tear). Now the devices could be sourced from outlets and retail stores, or they could also be taken from recycle centres where most of these devices end up.
As soon as the devices are received, they are inspected thoroughly as part of initial diagnostics. All visible wear and tear as well as damages are marked for repairing later. The system’s software, OS and performance is checked for identifying possible defects in the functioning. Even improperly removed security markings are noted down as these would be changed later on. The keyboard and the screen are tested thoroughly because these are responsible for inputting and displaying information. If any work needs to be done on them, then it would be taken up with priority. The refurbishers also format the HDD so that any possible trace of malignant malware / virus may be removed completely.
Replacing Damaged Components
In this stage, all defective components (having functional as well as visual defects) are changed in keeping with the latest technology available for the device. This is necessary because the QA tests would not pass an outdated system. The components need to be changed even if they are in perfect working order but are outdated by current standards. This is probably one of the main reasons why people prefer to go for a refurbished computer, as they getting better technology at a considerably lower price. Who wouldn’t want to save a few bucks?
Installing Suitable OS
With the components being repaired and upgraded as per latest standards, it is but obvious that the suitable OS would also have to be installed. It is completely up to the vendors if they wish to give a licenced version of the OS or they could give you one with a trial period and you may activate the license later on. This is dependent on the refurbisher. Usually, manufacture refurbished computers have original and licensed OS installed in them.
Labelling the Device
Now that the system has been repaired and new components are added to it, the old labels would be of no use for the unit. New ones have to be printed with the serial codes and information about the current technical integrations. Any marking on the device or the components is removed duly before new identification is provided to them.
Cleaning the System
This is the tough part because devices have varying amounts of visual damage and other issues depending on the longevity of the device’s usage. The system is cleaned using standard tools and the exterior is sanded down to remove security labels, and to cover up any scratches or dents that may have occurred. Every nook and corner of the device is cleaned and all possible signs of rusting for metal components are treated accordingly.
Applying a fresh layer of paint makes it almost impossible for the vendor to differentiate between a fresh device and a refurbished one. Due to the sanding that has been done in the previous phase, it becomes easy for paint to be applied on the surface. Once the first layer has been made, a second layer of paint is applied to give it the final finish. This is also helpful in hiding marks and other signs of deterioration on the exterior.
For specific components, blacktopping or secondary coating is done. This is a mandatory requirement during refurbishing of memory devices. Once the secondary coating is applied, the component is baked in a tempering oven where the costing is hardened to provide greater durability and longevity.
Quality Control Tests
While every step in the refurbishing process does require quality checks, but the QC tests conducted at the end of the process ensures that every aspect of the device is in perfect working order with adherence to functional as well as aesthetic specifications. There are separate evaluation criteria for each component which needs to be complied with before the device is permitted to leave the workshop. The need for QC tests becomes even more important in the case of third party refurbishers who need to work hard to ensure that the devices are maintained at the highest levels of quality.
Secure Packaging and Shipping of the Devices
With the device having passed through the QC tests, the unit has to be packed and shipped to the refurbished products stores. The packaging may either be a completely new one with or it could be a simple box with all the necessary components. This is the one of the differences that is brought to light in the case of Apple computers where the packaging may be the only difference between a fresh MacBook and a refurbished one.
So there you have it. The refurbishing process is actually focused on making the most out of returned or defective components and coming out with something that is as good as new. Manufacturers are able to reduce raw material requirements by this method and the consumers are the ones to benefit the most as they are getting practically fresh devices at half the cost that is applicable on retail products.
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