Free Geek is open in a limited capacity. Donation and pickup are open at our building Wed-Sat 11-1 & 3-5.

Our Refurb Process

Once devices leave our Secure Data Area, they travel to different locations. Each type of device has different testing procedures and policies. See below for our refurb process!

 

Computer graphic

PCs: Desktops / All-in-Ones / Laptops

Desktops, laptops and all-in-ones are evaluated to determine specs of the device. Then we install an operating system. We offer Linux Mint on most of our systems. We also offer Windows 10 under some restrictions and with limited availability. Once an operating system is installed the device undergoes testing.

Tests we perform:

CPU Stress Test, Drive Test, Speakers and Audio Port tests, Ethernet and Wi-Fi (when available), Screen Color & Touchscreen (when available), Microphone & Webcam (when available), Keyboard and Trackpad (for Laptops), and USB Ports.

 

Affordable Tech Program

Macs: MacBook / MacBook Pro / MacBook Air / iMac / Mac Pro / Mac mini

All Mac computers are also evaluated to determine specs of the device. We install components and then install the latest supported version of macOS for the model.

Tests we perform:

CPU Stress Test, Drive Test, Speakers and Audio Port tests, Ethernet and Wi-Fi (when available), Screen Color, Microphone & Webcam (when available), Keyboard and Trackpad (for Laptops), and USB Ports. We perform a RAM stress test when the memory is integrated to the motherboard.

 

Hardware components

Peripherals and Hardware Components

Our Hardware Testing area is responsible for the triage and testing of the rest of the non-computing devices. A small sample of the devices tested in this area are: networking equipment, keyboards, mice, headphones/speakers, USB hubs, motherboards, CPUs, RAM, expansion cards, external drive enclosures, and webcams.

The variety of devices tested in this area means there are numerous testing procedures for the different types of devices. Below is a list of software we use for common components.

 

What software do we use?

Along with custom built testing apps and tools as well as apps built into Linux, Windows, and macOS, we also use the following 3rd party apps and tools to help test the computers we refurbish.

Network Booting:

CPU (Processor) Testing:

RAM (Memory) Testing:

Hard Drive (Storage) Testing:

GPU (Graphics) Testing:

Camera Testing:

Keyboard Testing:

How is battery life determined on a laptop?

We use internal operating system software to compare the original capacity of the battery to the current capacity. This results in a percentage of the original capacity of the battery. We understand that knowing how long a battery will last is important, but we are unable to guarantee a length of time that a battery will last due to degradation of batteries over time. For most of our programs we aim to have the battery be at 50% or higher of the original capacity, with the operating system indicating at least an hour of battery life. Items for sale are not subject to this restriction and could be sold with lower capacity, or no battery.

What happens if you can’t repair or refurbish the device?

We work with thoroughly vetted and certified downstream vendors to either reuse or ethically recycle devices that we are unable to get back out into the community for one reason or another. If a device has potential for reuse and we just don’t have the resources to reuse it, our partners have the opportunity to give it new life. If a device has simply come to the end of its functionality, or vendors make sure that the device is recycled in an ethical and sustainable way.