Question: If a computer is resold without the hard drive under "R2/Ready for Resale" does the computer need to be tested with a hard drive?
Many computers arrive at refurbishers or recyclers with the hard drive removed. This is typical for many customers with concerns over data security. Some recyclers even remove the drive from the unit upon arrival and before the testing process for reuse. There usually exists a deficit of hard drives to computers. Refurbishers must either resell the units without hard drives, or purchase hard drives to install in each computer. So the question arose about the testing steps for units without hard drives. Can computers be tested and resold without a hard drive?
While computers can be resold without the hard drive, the requirements for testing will depend on the type of sale under R2:2013 Provision 6. Equipment labeled as "Tested for Full Functions, R2/Ready for Reuse" obviously could not be resold without a hard drive. The computer would need a hard drive to load an operating system and drivers for testing all functions. Additionally, to work out of the box like a new computer, it would require the hard drive. It is not possible to resell computers without hard drives or testing the hard drives under this label.
Conversely, computers labeled as "Evaluated and Non-Functioning, R2/Ready for Repair" would be acceptable to sell without the hard drive or testing of it. Of course, this path is restricted to buyers who meet the additional due diligence requirements and are qualified and monitored by the R2:2013 recycler. The buyer in this situation is required to test and resell only working equipment. They cannot resell the equipment untested or not working.
The real question lies in the equipment labeled "Tested for Key Functions, R2/Ready for Resale". It would be unusual to justify testing for key functions without testing the SATA or IDE port for the hard drive. The hard drive is almost always a critical component to the unit. Although it could be resold without a hard drive, a hard drive would need to be plugged in to test the functionality of the port during the testing of key functions. The refurbisher would simply need to use a functioning hard drive from another computer to test the port functionality in the testing process and then remove the drive.
One exception comes to mind that may be justifiable under "Tested for Key Functions, R2/Ready for Resale." It is possible that units would be resold to boot from the network and work solely as terminals with no local storage. This is a common practice to extend the useful life of equipment and provide a controlled and managed environment. In those cases, the recycler would need to qualify their process and market the units with this intended use in line with 6(c)(2)(E) - "Ensure that the equipment or components meet the specifications of the recipient vendor or the end user."
For more information, please see Provision 6 of the R2:2013 Standard and the accompanying R2:2013 Guidance Document.