The Stages of Refurbishing

Stage 1: Documentation

When we get a new computer in to our group, we immediately give it a name and list out the specifications of the device. We include details like who donated it, the approximate year it is from, where it is at the current time, the CPU in it, how much RAM it has and so on and so forth.

Stage 2: Cleaning

We will take the time to clean out the machine, both on the inside and the outside. We focus on spots of major physical contact, like power buttons, keyboards and I/O ports. We blow out the dust and clean the fins, if there are any stickers or marks that can be cleaned off we do our best to make it clean again.


Stage 3: Testing & Deletion/wiping

The next step is to see if the device works, this includes running tests on the machine to see if it can POST (Power On Self Test), if it does not work we determine what the issue is and try to solve it.

At the same time, we remove any storage device and plug it into our deletion station. This is when we load DBAN (Darik’s Boot And Nuke) with a USB flash drive and wipe all data on the storage device. DBAN rewrites all the data on the drive to random 1’s and 0’s, resulting in the destruction of all existing data on that drive. This process can take hours, if not days. If you have any questions or concerns about DBAN visit their website at or read about how the Department of Homeland Security tested and what their results were, link here.

If the device can run safely then we move on to Stage 4.

Stage 4: Installation

After all the data has been deleted from the device we use Linux Mint for our Operating System to install on all the computers we get. We use USB flash drives to install the ISO.’s and when we install there is another data deletion layer that is done to absolutely delete all data.

Stage 5: Test Boot

This stage is similar to stage 3 but now installed with Linux Mint, this will tell us if the computer can run the Operating System and if Linux understands the computers specifications.

Stage 6: Final Check

After the Refurbisher has done all their testing and has installed Linux, we move the computer to the Chief Engineers location so he can preform the Final Check. After he gives the go ahead or fixes whatever problems, he puts in the spreadsheet that it is ready to go and it is added to the donatable computers.