Closeup on laptop screen and keyboard.

Installing Windows on refurbished computers is quicker thanks to a new software tool. | Lukmanazis/Shutterstock

A recently launched software system simplifies the process of buying and installing Windows operating systems on refurbished computers.

Superior Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher Tool (SMART) is a cloud-based system that automates the process of injecting OSs onto refurbished PCs, according to a press release. SMART is a division of Global Resale, a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher with headquarters locations in Austin, Texas and Braintree, England.

Microsoft provides licenses to install Windows and other software to companies and nonprofit organizations that sell and donate refurbished PCs. In 2020, the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation revamped the programs through which it provides these licenses, however.

The tech giant eliminated what was called the Registered Refurbisher Program (RRP), through which it directly sold low-cost licenses to smaller computer refurbishers, but it kept its Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) Program, which is intended for higher-volume refurbishing operations.

Since the change, smaller refurbishers, including nonprofit groups that seek to bridge the digital divide by providing computers to underserved populations, have been required to register as third-party refurbishers and purchase low-cost licenses from MAR program members, which still buy licenses directly from Microsoft.

View of the SMART software platform.

View of one step in the SMART interface.

The change left some smaller refurbishing operations scrambling to find new sources of Microsoft software licenses. According to Global Resale, the process of registering as a third-party refurbisher and installing Windows on PCs has been complicated and can take a week or longer.

Global Resale developed SMART in-house to automate some of the steps of registering, buying licenses and installing keys for Windows 10 Pro and Home operating systems.

“SMART’s ecommerce platform means that Refurbishers can purchase Windows licenses immediately, without waiting for manual license transfers,” the release said. “The signup process is easy and Refurbishers can start injecting Windows onto a PC within an hour.”

Microsoft gave SMART an innovation award last year.

SMART generates income by selling Windows licenses. Customers subscribe to SMART at one of three levels: Pay As You Go, a free subscription; Essentials, which is $259 a month; and Pro, which is $649 a month. Essentials subscribers receive a 5% discount on licenses, and Pro subscribers receive a 10% discount.

According to Global Resale, SMART is available to other MAR program members or third-party refurbishers, including ITAD firms, nonprofit groups, returns/repair companies and others.

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