PC Refurbisher

We got accepted into the Microsoft PC Refurbisher program, but there is a snag now. All the information that we read prior to applying said we would be able to place legitimate, full licenses for Windows on the PCs we refurbish. There is one tiny little catch that would have been really helpful to be disclosed to us before:

Q: I have a used PC without a Windows COA. Can I install Windows on the PC?

A: Yes, but because the PC does not have proof that Windows was originally installed on it, you must purchase a full version (not upgrade version) of the Windows operating system Windows through a retail channel.

The point of *having* a refurbisher program is lost on me at this point: how does this get a license for PCs which do not yet have a license? How is this different from just handing the recipient charity the cleaned up PC hardware and telling them to go to a local brick and mortar store and go buy a license?

I must have missed something, so I need to read it again. This can’t be right. The only thing this would help is if the original recovery CD has been lost.


I fired off an email to Microsoft to ask if I understand the program correctly:


Question: We are only working with 501(c)(3) Public Charities. From what I can tell, this program only allows us to install Windows on PCs that already have a license for Windows: there is no way to provide a legitimate charity license for a PC which does not already have a legitimate Windows license, other than just buying one at retail somewhere. Donated PCs are going to be worth $20 – $50. Windows licenses are going to be $89 and up. Did I miss something?

John Nash, CEO
Adult Life Training, Inc.


I will let you know what they say.


One comment to this article

  1. John Nash

    on October 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm -

    This was received today. Quick turn around. I think the bottom line is somewhere in the history of the PC to be refurbished there must be the purchase of a retail license for Windows. Here is the content of the email.

    Hello John,

    Thank you for contacting the Registered Refurbisher Program. We understand that you have a question regarding pre-existing COA’s on computers that you are going to refurbish.

    Qualified PCs

    You are, of course, able to refurbish any personal computers or equipment that you receive but if
    You wish to preinstall products through the Program, the PCs that you preinstall must meet certain
    Criteria. PCs that meet these criteria are referred to as Qualified PCs in the Program Agreement.
    Qualified PCs must:
    · Have been in distribution, or used by an end user, for at least 6 months, and
    · To the best of your knowledge, must contain the original motherboard, and
    · If you wish to preinstall Windows, have a Windows COA affixed.

    Please refer to page 15 of your program guide.

    You may find the program guide in the Resources area of the secure member portal.

    Please, do not hesitate to contact us again with any additional questions.

    Best regards,

    Steven V.
    Registered Refurbisher Program
    Monday to Friday
    9:00 AM – 5:00 PM PST