Microsoft launched a program to help ensure that PC refurbishers and OEMs reselling used PCs to businesses are installing legitimate copies of Windows on them.
The Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) program lets OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that take old computers and rehab them for resale license Windows for those PCs in bulk. The program, launched Friday, is an extension of Community MAR, which was aimed at charities, educational institutions and nonprofits.
Windows licenses are tied to the computer for which they are acquired. PC refurbishers can reinstall Windows on a rehabbed PC if they have the correct proof-of-purchase documentation -- called a Certificate of Authenticity -- and the original OS image software necessary to return the PC to its original state.
However, it's often difficult to have both of these items handy for old PCs, and companies reselling used PCs will sell them without an OS installed. This leaves the PCs open for people who buy them to install Linux or a pirated version of Windows.