RECIPIENT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Have questions about PCs for People or our products?
This page has answers to commonly asked questions about PCs for People's tech services and policies. Below is a list of sections available on this page. Click a section title to scroll down to it:
You can also your browser's 'Find...' function to search for keywords. Click on a question to see the answer to it. Can't find what you're looking for? Contact us.
These questions all relate to general PCs for People information about eligibility, locations, process, and payment options.
Bring with you a photo ID and one of the documents outlined on our eligibility page that is dated within the last 6 months. The document must have your name on it and match the name on your ID.
If you come prepared with all of your proof, a PCs for People staff can help you in about 10 minutes. (Although it depends on how fast you decide what computer you want too!)
Yes, our only eligibility requirement is that you are at 200% of the poverty level or below and you can travel to one of our locations.
No, appointments are not necessary.
We don’t have a Minneapolis location, but we do have other locations in Minnesota. See our contact page for more information on our locations.
Our St Paul, Mankato, and Denver offices accept all major credit and debit cards. We also accept cash. We cannot take personal checks, money orders, or EBT cards for payment.
These questions all relate to computer specs, installed software, laptop sales, and other computer-related questions.
The St. Paul and Denver offices have laptops. Laptops are available every day, though individual types are subject to availability. See the laptop page for pricing information and specs.
Most of the computers we distribute are from businesses and government agencies. Individuals also donate their personal computers.
No, we don’t do trade-ins, but we do give you a receipt that includes information on how to write it off on your taxes if you choose.
See this page for desktop pricing/donation information. We also have laptops in St. Paul and Denver.
We put out the oldest ($0-29) computers every morning when our offices open. They are first come, first serve. Once they are gone, there are no more available that day.
No, but we do install OpenOffice (or LibreOffice), a free program that is very similar to Microsoft Office. In fact, we preconfigure OpenOffice and LibreOffice to save as all of the standard Microsoft formats to maximize compatibility.
We can also install Microsoft Office on your Windows computer for $20. The installation is done in our office and takes about 30 minutes.
Another option is to sign up for a free Microsoft account and use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps for free on Office Online (only works when you are connected to the internet). Google Drive is another free online software similar to Microsoft Office (need a Google or gmail account and must be connected to the internet).
These are some of the programs that come with your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 computer:
- OpenOffice for typing, spreadsheets, drawing, and presentations
- Microsoft Security Essentials, an antivirus program (this program is called Windows Defender on Windows 8.1 computers)
- Malwarebytes, a program that removes malware
- CCleaner, a program that removes cookies and internet-related viruses
- Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, an internet browser (requires internet)
- Online Learning, a link to lots of helpful websites for education (requires internet)
- Solitaire, Minesweeper, and other free games (Windows 7 only, but Windows 8.1 has some free game apps you can download)
- Kiwix, an encyclopedia that you can use without an internet connection
If you get a free computer with Linux Mint, you will have slightly different programs:
- LibreOffice for typing, spreadsheets and presentations
- Google Chrome, an internet browser (requires internet)
- Software Manager, where you can download free games and other programs
- With Linux, no antivirus program is needed! It is the most secure operating system.
The computer you receive comes with a 90-day hardware warranty. If something happens to it within those 90 days bring it back and we will repair it for free, unless it is something user-caused (virus, spilling water on it, dropping it, etc.). After the 90 days, or if the problem is user-caused, repair costs start at $25. For user-caused software/virus issues within the 90 day warranty, the first reinstall of Windows is free. If you have opened your computer, altered your operating system, or had someone else attempt to repair it, your warranty is void. Laptop batteries are warrantied for 7 business days.
You are eligible to get 3 computers per year (365 days, not a calendar year) per household. If one of your three computers breaks and is deemed unrepairable by PCs for People, you can leave it at our office to recycle and get a new one.
We have a no returns policy. By receiving a PCs for People computer, you agree not to resell the computer. You may donate the computer back to us, but there will be no refund or store credit.
However, if you have a problem with your computer, bring it in for us to look at. The issue may be covered under the 90-day hardware warranty, or it could be a setting that we can help you change. Note that the hardware warranty does not include laptop batteries -- those are only warrantied for 7 business days.
Upward exchanges are permitted within the 90 day warranty if the computer is in working condition and free of significant cosmetic damage. PCs for People staff reserves the right to decline an upward exchange based on the condition of the computer.
Upward exchanges are permitted within the 90 day warranty if the computer is in working condition and free of significant cosmetic damage. PCs for People staff reserves the right to decline an upward exchange based on the condition of the computer. You would pay the difference between the original desktop, laptop, or monitor to exchange it for the new one. Exchange for an equal value computer is not permitted unless there is a problem with the original computer that requires us to replace it under warranty.
Windows 10 is the newest version of Windows which will be released by Microsoft on July 29th and is free for anyone who has Windows 7 or Windows 8 already. It has a lot of cool new features such as added security, voice recognition, and the ability to play more apps and games. You can learn more about the features at Microsoft's website or in articles on various tech news sites. Try Googling "Windows 10" and you'll find even more information.
If you want to get Windows 10, feel free. If you would rather keep Windows 7, that is fine too -- it will be supported by Microsoft until at least 2020.
If you decide to sign up for Windows 10, as you are going through the registration process, it will mention anything it finds on your computer that is not supported or does not work. If your computer receives lots of errors during this process, we would recommend you just stick with your current version of Windows. Remember, you can only change back to your old version of Windows during the first 30 days - so make sure you like it right away!
These questions all relate to computer specs, installed software, laptop sales, and other computer-related questions.
All device and subscription details are found on our Low Cost Internet page.
For any issues with your internet service or your device, you can contact PCs for People. If needed, a customer service representative will direct you to tech support.
Each device is pre-set with a network name and password. The network name and password can be read on the LCD screen of your device when it is turned on. For more detailed directions, check the written guide inside the retail box your device came in.
Every device PCs for People has sold has a different method to reset the device. Resetting the device to factory defaults will reset the network name and network key (wireless password/Wi-Fi passkey). Find your model below to get directions.
Netgear Fuse: When the device is on, hold the power button down for several seconds. When the shutting down screen appears, continue to hold the power button. When prompted to "Factory Reset all Settings?" continue holding down the power button. When the screen appears that says Resetting Device, you can let go of the power button.
Franklin Wireless R850: Remove the back cover to expose the battery. In the upper right hand corner there is a small oval button with the words "Reset" stamped on it. With the device on and the battery in, press and hold this button for about 5 seconds, then let go. The display will read "Setting reset, Restarting..." Please allow several minutes for the reset to complete.
Novatel MiFi: The master reset button is in a small hole located on the bottom of the MiFi 500, underneath the battery cover. To reset the MiFi 500, place one end of an unfolded paper clip into the master reset button hole. Next, press the paper clip on the button until the display shows "MiFi Powering Down" (about five to six seconds). Your device will restart.
ZTE Warp Connect: The master reset button is a small hole located next to the charging port. Using either the included tray pin or the end of a thin paperclip, place the end into the button hole. Next, press the pin or paper clip on the button inside the hole until the display shows "resetting" (about five seconds). Your device will restart.
To change the wireless network name and password on the device, Find the device you own in the list below:
If using a Netgear Fuse:
- View your device's Quick Start Guide.
- Follow the directions under the "Web Interface" section.
If using a Novatel MiFi:
- View your device's User Guide
- Follow the directions for "Managing from the MiFi 500 Web Interface"
- Once logged into the MiFi 500 Home page, follow the directions on page 30 to change your wifi password.
If using a Franklin Wireless R850:
- View your device's User Guide.
- Follow the directions for "Web UI Window" and "Admin Login" on pages 29-30.
- Once logged into the device, follow the directions for "Wi-Fi Basic Settings" on pages 32-34.
If using a ZTE Warp Connect:
- View your device's Quick Start Guide.
- Follow the directions for "Web UI Overview" or "Web interface" section.
You don't have to contact us to tell us that you’re changing addresses, as long as you are moving to an area that gets service, your device should work automatically. Check your new address on the coverage map to see if you get service. Be sure to enter your address and click the "Data" tab on the maps, not the "Voice" tab.
Please call us to verify that is the case and troubleshoot. If we determine you will no longer get service where you have just moved, we can refund any remaining months that have not yet begun.
PCs for People internet is not available everywhere. Check this coverage map for details and search for 4G LTE data coverage.
There are three payment options.
- You can come into your nearest location to pay.
- You can add more time online, at www.internetrenewal.com. (If you choose to pay online it will ask you for a username and password, which is the email address you gave us when you signed up for internet, and the password you created.)
- We also accept payment over the phone.
All internet users will have to provide proof that you still meet our eligibility guidelines on a yearly basis.
A current listing of our prices can be found on our Low Cost Internet page.
If the internet bill is not paid after the expiration date, it may take 3 to 5 business days for your internet to be turned back on.
Every household is eligible for one internet device. The only way you can purchase a second device is if the first one is damaged, lost, stolen or defective, and is past its warranty. In that case, we will deactivate and remove the first modem from our system.
Please report a lost or stolen device to us so we can shut it off and remove it from our system. This way, no one else can use the internet for free. You have two choices after that:
- We can refund any remaining time you had on the device; or
- You can purchase a new modem. We will be able to transfer all remaining time to your new device.
We answer this question in our Policies FAQs below.
No. Unfortunately, our activation process with the internet provider does not currently allow users to supply their own devices.
These questions all relate to general PCs for People policies regarding refunds, returns, and warranties.
The computer you receive comes with a 90-day hardware warranty. If something happens to it within those 90 days bring it back and we will repair it for free, unless it is something user-caused (virus, spilling water on it, dropping it, etc.). After the 90 days, or if the problem is user-caused, repair costs start at $25, although the first reinstall of Windows is free. If you have opened your computer, altered your operating system, or had someone else attempt to repair it, your warranty is void.
Laptop batteries are warrantied for 7 business days.
Upward exchanges are permitted during the 90-day warranty period if the computer is in working condition and free of significant cosmetic damage. PCs for People staff reserves the right to decline an upward exchange based on the condition of the computer.
Yes, but only within 7 business days of the purchase date of the laptop.
Upward exchanges are permitted during the 90-day warranty period if the computer is in working condition and free of significant cosmetic damage. PCs for People staff reserves the right to decline an upward exchange based on the condition of the computer. Exchanges between two equal-value computers are not permitted unless the computer is unrepairable and needs to be replaced under its warranty.
We cannot refund you money for your device, but we can refund any full months that have not been used.
Modems can be returned for a refund within 7 business days from the date of purchase. Devices must be in working condition and in good shape. We reserve the right to decline a refund for a device that has been physically broken or damaged. After 7 business days, the only refund that is available is for the full remaining months of service. Note: this policy applies to in-store purchases only! See our online terms of service page for online purchases.
New accessories may be returned within 7 business days if the package has not been opened. Used accessories may be returned within 7 business days if they are in good working condition.
Accessories that are included with a computer, such as a laptop charger, monitor or keyboard, are covered under the 90-day hardware warranty and can be replaced if they are defective and the damage is not user-caused.
Repair & Virus Prevention FAQs
These questions all relate to repair time-frames, costs, and virus protection.
Every attempt will be made to complete your repair within 2 weeks.
Yes, PCs for People will repair computers even if they weren't purchased from us, as long as you qualify for our program.
Basic repairs are $25, although the first Windows reinstall on a computer from us is free.
There may be additional charges:
- If parts need to be ordered that we don’t have in stock, the cost of ordering the new part is added to the $25 basic repair fee.
- For a laptop that requires a screen replacement, we charge a $35 repair fee.
- Laptop repairs that require us to open up the laptop will be charged $45.
- Virus removals cost $45.
You pay when the repair is completed. Parts are paid for at the time they are ordered (generally at drop-off).
As soon as a repair is finished, we will call you and let you know. Make sure we have the correct phone number when you drop off the repair.
Yes, you will have to pay $25 dollars to have viruses removed by us because viruses are not covered under our warranty. We have installed anti-virus protection on all computers we distribute and repair. However, most of these programs will not work if you do not click on them. If you have further questions about avoiding viruses, view our Repair Cheat Sheet, call us, or ask the person you picked up your repair from.
We have installed Malwarebytes, CCleaner, and Windows Defender on your computer to help protect it from viruses. Instructions on how to use each of the programs are listed in the questions below. Here is a PDF with information about virus protection strategies. If you have used all the programs we have installed on your computer and you are still experiencing virus or malware problems, you can also download AdwCleaner at this website. Be sure to click only the “Download Now @BleepingComputer” button.
If you have a free computer with Linux instead of a Windows computer, good news! Your computer is automatically secured against viruses being installed on it.
Malwarebytes is installed on all PCs for People computers. To use it, double click the Malwarebytes icon on the desktop OR browse to Start > All Programs > Malwarebytes Anti-Malware > Malwarebyates Anti-Malware. Once the program is open use the directions on this webpage starting on step 6 to clean your computer.
CCleaner is installed on all PCs for People computers. To use it double click the CCleaner icon on the desktop OR browse to Start > CCleaner > CCleaner. Once the program is open use the directions on this webpage to clean your computer.
There’s not much to do. Microsoft Security Essentials works in the background to protect your PC. It checks for updates automatically a few times a day and doesn’t slow your PC down while it works. You can learn more about the program and what the different colored icons mean at Microsoft's website.
There's not much to do. Windows Defender works in the background to protect your PC. It checks for updates automatically. Click here for more information about using Defender, running a scan, and removing viruses.
Using AdwCleaner is very simple. Visit this website and be sure to click only the "Download Now &BleepingComputer" button. Once the program is downloaded, run it. You will then be presented with a screen that contains a Scan and Clean button. The Scan button will cause AdwCleaner to search your computer for unwanted programs and then display all the files, folders, and registry entries found on your computer that are used by adware programs.
When the scan has finished, look through the scan results and uncheck any entries that you do not wish to remove. When you are satisfied with the selection, simply click on the Clean button, which will cause AdwCleaner to reboot your computer and remove the files and registry entries associated with the various adware that you are removing. On reboot, AdwCleaner will display a log showing the files, folders, and registry entries that were removed.
When running AdwCleaner it will reset your search settings to the default one if it detects it has been changed by an adware. If you see the warning that states AdwCleaner is trying to change your browser settings, please allow it to do so.
If your PC isn’t running well, resetting it might fix the problem. Resetting reinstalls Windows, but gives you the option to keep your files. The procedure used depends on which version of Windows you have installed:
If your copy of Windows 7 has been added after February 2015 (so if you either bought your computer after that time or if it was completely reinstalled in a repair), then follow the instructions below:
- Turn off your computer. Turn it back on. Before Windows loads, press F6 repeatedly until you see “Windows is loading files…”
- Set the Keyboard Input to US and click Next.
- Choose an administrator account and enter the password. If you have not changed the account, the User name is PCs for People and the Password is blank.
- From the next menu, select Reinstall Windows.
- On the next screen, click Yes after reading about where your old files will be saved.
- Your reinstall will begin! It takes about 30 – 60 minutes to complete.
- Do you want to delete your old files?
- Say Yes if you have your files backed up or nothing important is on the computer
- Say No if there are any important files you need. You can find them by clicking: Start -> Computer -> Local Disk (C:) -> Windows.old
- If you set up an external hard drive or flash drive as a backup, you can plug it in and restore your files by clicking Restore my files. Otherwise, click Cancel.
You can refresh or reinstall Windows 8 by following these steps:
- Point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.
- Tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Recovery.
- There are two choices: Remove everything and reinstall Windows or Refresh your PC without affecting your files. Choose to remove everything unless you have pictures, videos, documents, or music on the computer that you need to save. Click Get Started below the one you choose and follow the instructions on screen.
Here are two ways to reset your Windows 10 PC:
- Select the Start button, then select Settings > Update & security > Recovery. Under Reset this PC, select Get started.
- Restart your PC to get to the sign-in screen, then press and hold down the Shift key while you select the Power icon > Restart in the lower-right hand corner of the screen. After your computer restarts, select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.