Buying a refurbished computer from a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher is a great choice. You get a cost-effective and reliable computer preinstalled with genuine Microsoft Windows® and Microsoft Office®.
Only genuine Microsoft Windows software provides the features and functionality you expect. Take some time to review the 'Buying Tips' for questions to ask before you buy a refurbished PC and the benefits you get with preinstalled genuine Microsoft software.
Points to remember:
Selling a PC with an unlicensed copy of Windows can subject the refurbisher and retailer to liability for copyright infringement.
The original Microsoft (COA) attached to the PC does not allow you to reload Microsoft Windows software when no original recovery media is present. All PC's shipped from Universe Direct have genuine Microsoft software.
Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher FAQ
Do many people buy refurbished PCs?
Yes, Microsoft estimates that over 50 million refurbished PCs are sold every year.
Who buys refurbished PCs?
Mainly consumers and small businesses, but also education, non-profits and medium enterprises.
Do many schools buy refurbished PCs?
Yes, Microsoft estimates that in North American schools alone over half a million refurbished PCs are purchased.
Do many people buy refurbished PCs that have been through Microsoft’s programs for refurbishers?
Yes, last year over 4 million PCs were refurbished and supplied with licences from Microsoft refurbisher programs.
What refurbisher programs does Microsoft offer?
There is Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) for large refurbishers, and Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Program (RRP) for smaller refurbishers.
What is the difference between MAR and RRP?
MAR is for large refurbishers. They need to go through an assessment by the local Microsoft team before they can join. They have a direct relationship with a Microsoft Partner Sales Executive. They receive better pricing than RRPs because they do higher volumes. They get more engineering support from Microsoft. RRP is for smaller refurbishers and refurbishers specialising in non-prof it work. It is free to join and no assessment is required. The RRPs do not have access to a Microsoft Partner Sales Executive and get less engineering support.
Where can I learn more about MAR and RRP?
Do MAR PCs come with a warranty?
Each MAR will have their own warranty policy. You should look for at least a one year warranty either directly with the MAR or with the reseller of the MAR device. Some MARs offer 3 year warranties. A few even offer longer warranties than 3 years.
Are MAR PCs reliable?
If they are from a good refurbisher you should expect them to have a similar or often better reliability than a new device. Most MAR PCs are PCs that have come out of large enterprise organisations that have upgraded to newer PCs. They are normally fully working PCs even before they reach the refurbisher, though may have scratches and other cosmetic marks on their cases. As part of the MAR refurbishment process, they are wiped of any old software and installed with a new version of Windows, often with updates to drivers that the original PC did not have.
Have all devices sold by a MAR been through the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher licensing program?
No, it will have a MAR Certificate of Authenticity (COA) if it has been through the MAR licensing program.
I see similar non MAR refurbished devices at a slightly lower prices.
If you buy a non-MAR refurbished device make sure you know:
Is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher the same as a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher?
No. The Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Program (RRP) is for smaller refurbishers. They do not have a Microsoft account manager, direct access to Microsoft engineers specialising in refurbishment etc.
Why is there less chance of a virus when buying a MAR PC?
MARs get the software they use to install Windows directly from Microsoft. This means it has gone through quality assurance reviews. Refurbishers who get their software from non-Microsoft sources such as the internet, from a friend, from a disk they found, etc are more likely to have pirated software that may contain viruses and malware.
Why is there less chance of an incorrectly installed PC when buying a MAR PC?
MARs have access to specially developed tools to help install Windows properly on refurbished PCs. This includes access to the Microsoft Windows Device Driver library which contains thousands of drivers tested by Microsoft to work with Windows. Larger MARs also have direct access and training from Microsoft engineers including onsite visits to help setup their system processes to install Windows on refurbished PCs.
How can I tell I have a genuine MAR PC?
All MAR PCs have a MAR Certificate of Authenticity (COA) on them. COAs for Refurbished PCs are a different colour than COAs for new PCs. The COA says it is for use on a Refurbished PC. The COA shows the Windows software is a version for refurbished PCs. There should also be a brand name on the COA for the MAR who installed Windows on it.
Why can I see two COAs on my refurbished PC?
Some MAR PCs will have two COAs on them. The first is for the original licence for Windows software that was installed on the PC when it was manufactured. The second is for the new licence for Windows software installed when it was refurbished.
What is the risk of buying a refurbished PC that was reinstalled using its original Windows software?
If you buy a refurbished PC that does not have a Microsoft licence for refurbished PCs on it you need to ensure you have purchased a genuine Windows software licence. Aside from legal risk if the licence is not genuine, you will not be entitled to various benefits from genuine Windows software. When a PC is refurbished normally all the software on the PC is removed. This is for security reasons to protect the privacy and data of the previous owner. As a result, the PC is often no longer properly licenced for Microsoft software. Microsoft created its refurbisher programs to provide a solution to enable new Windows software to be installed thereby extending the useful life of the PC.
I thought it was bad for the environment to buy a refurbished PC because they use more power than new PCs?
Not always - refurbished PCs often do use a little more electricity than new PCs. However, the power used to operate a PC over its lifetime is much smaller than the power used to manufacture and ship a new PC.
Why should I have more confidence in a MAR PC?
A refurbished PC from a MAR that is installed with Windows software is a way to increase your confidence in the product you are buying. This means you know it has been licensed properly for new Windows software. It means the software used to install Windows has been provided directly to the refurbisher by Microsoft. It means the refurbisher had access to special Microsoft tools to help install Windows on the PC with the correct configuration and drivers. It means it came from a refurbisher who has been reviewed by Microsoft before being invited to join the MAR program.
Why are refurbished MAR PCs good for my school?
A refurbished PC with a licence from a Microsoft refurbisher program should offer you the opportunity to save money and either use the saving to get more PCs for your school or spend the saving on other things you want like software, services. Lots of schools buy refurbished PCs but some buy PCs that have not been licensed using a Microsoft refurbisher program. This increases the risk of them having used Windows software from unofficial sources that may contain viruses and malware. It means there is a risk that Windows may not have been installed properly, or may not even be properly licenced Windows software.
What should I consider when deciding between a refurbished MAR Laptop or a Chromebook?
You can purchase a refurbished MAR laptop for similar or cheaper prices to most Chromebooks, so it helps to look at the functionality of the devices. Most MAR PCs are ex corporate laptops, this means they have been built to a good standard of quality to meet the needs of the corporate market. They often have extra security features such as TPM chips. You should compare the processor power, memory and storage of the devices since often a three year old ex corporate laptop will have a more powerful processor than a new low cost device. MAR PCs will include a local storage device like a hard disk to enable offline working and storing of documents / images / music. Make sure you compare warranty periods and conditions.
What should I consider when deciding between a refurbished MAR Laptop or a low cost Tablet?
You can purchase low cost tablets for a lower price than most refurbished MAR PCs. However that does not give a like for like comparison. Work out what you will also need as accessories to use the tablet. Will you need an additional keyboard for example which would add to the total price and make it similar to the cost of a MAR laptop? Most MAR laptops will have bigger screen than low cost tablets, this enables you to see more of your work and helps your efficiency with things like spreadsheets. Normally the MAR laptop will have a more powerful processor, more RAM and larger offline storage enabling you to work faster and store more of your documents and photos. Many MAR laptops come with an optical drive reader enabling you to play DVD’s and CDs, as well a multiple expansion ports for connectivity like USB. Low cost tablets are often harder to fix when they break.
Why should I pay more for a MAR PC?
Higher quality and reduced risk. A MAR PC is a PC that has been properly licensed for Microsoft software, meaning you have the correct software licence for the PC which entitles you to extra benefits from Microsoft such as security updates. It means the software came direct from Microsoft rather than off the Internet so reduces the risk of viruses and malware being installed. It means the risk of Windows software having been installed incorrectly is reduced since Microsoft refurbishers have access to special tools to help image Windows on refurbished PCs, and larger refurbishers have direct support from Microsoft engineering staff. Companies in the MAR program will have gone through an assessment by Microsoft before being invited to join the program.
When is a MAR PC not a good choice?
Each customer has different needs but a general rule is that when the customer wants the latest technology or very high powered devices then a MAR PC is probably not a good fit. This is because there will be a shortage of such PCs in the refurbished space so they will be difficult to find and demand a high premium.
When a MAR or RRP license is and isn’t required?
A Windows software product is made up of various parts, the agreement, the software, sometimes a Certificate of Authenticity, sometimes manuals and recovery media. Each Microsoft licence should be read carefully since details may vary but the option to transfer a Windows software licence along with a PC does exist if the user is able to transfer all the components of the license and ensure the new user agrees to all the terms of the license. In practise this does not often happen since people have lost manuals, or wiped the original software as part of data sanitization, or are unable to ensure the new user accepts the transfer terms. This is why we have programs for refurbished PCs to help provide a licence option for them. To learn more see the refurbished PC licensing guidelines document at Microsoft Refurbished PC Licensing Guidelines.pdf
Are MAR and RRP licenses eligible for Microsoft Volume License agreements as a base licenses and where can I go to find more info?
It can vary according to the Windows version you have, your volume license agreement and which OS you are moving to. For example often Windows 7 Pro normally qualifies but if you are an academic VL user Windows 7 Home Premium can also be acceptable. To learn more talk to your volume licensing specialist or look at the Microsoft web pages – a good starting point is About Licensing
My customer says they have a volume license for Windows and don’t need a licence on the refurbished PCs they buy, is this true?
Probably not. Microsoft Volume Licensing programs do not offer Windows desktop operating system licenses; Volume Licensing provides only Windows upgrade licenses. Before you are eligible to acquire an upgrade license for the Windows desktop operating system through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs, you must first have licensed and installed a qualified full desktop operating system on your device.
Why is a Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 8.1 product good for a school with an education Volume License agreement?
The Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8.1 products are qualifying desktop operating systems for academic and non-profit users Volume license (VL) agreements. This means they can be upgraded by the VL agreement holder to other versions of Windows as laid out in their VL agreement.
See About Licensing
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