Laptop QC Checklist

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This page has been migrated to a document on Free Geek's Google Drive.

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Note: A version of this guide in LibreOffice format is available on the wiki at this link. That version is strongly recommended for printing.

Welcome to Quality Control!
The laptop you are inspecting should have been through Evaluation and Laptop Build and have a Keeper Label to track its progress. If so, it's ready for its final tests before we send it out into the world. Some things to keep in mind while working through QC:

  • If a laptop has issues, it's best to catch them early. Point them out to your instructor.
  • If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask your instructor or fellow builders.
  • Don't rush! Take your time.

Thank you for your help!

1. Inspect the System

☐ Check the Keeper label:

  • Make sure memtest and all Build steps have been checked off by the Builder. If not, ask your instructor for guidance.
  • Mark the Start box on the QC section at the bottom right of the Keeper label.
  • Look for any unresolved issues or notes. Ask your instructor if you have questions.

☐ Check the system for missing screws or covers, or damaged parts.
☐ Install parts or make repairs as directed by your instructor.
All necessary repairs should be completed before moving on to the next step.

2. Cleaning and Sticker Removal

Remove Stickers and Sticker Gunk.

As of August 2013, we are no longer removing Windows License Key stickers.
These are usually on the bottom of the machine or under the battery and have a long key code printed on them – please leave them on and intact. Some of our customers and grant recipients have to use proprietary software that requires Windows, and thus need the license key.

Stickers to be removed:
☐ Small, shiny Windows logo stickers on the palm rest (do not remove the license key sticker)
☐ Any sticker identifying the previous owner or with personal information, such as passwords, business names or addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
☐ Any logo or bumper sticker added by a previous user. Stickers add by the manufacturer with system information (model number, specs, service tag, etc.) should be left on.

Clean the screen and keyboard
☐ Use cleaning fluids carefully – avoid getting liquid into the interior of the laptop.
☐ Use screen cleaner for the LCD and a soft, non-abrasive rag.
☐ Use a brush and rag to clean the keyboard, trackpad and palm rest surfaces.
☐ Wipe down the top of the laptop.


☐ Boot into BIOS.

  • If the BIOS key is not already noted on the Keeper Label, add it to the Notes section.
  • Watch for any errors during startup and resolve them. The laptop can be returned to the Laptop Build process if necessary to fix further problems.

☐ In BIOS, verify the following boot order:

First:  Optical Drive
Second: Hard Drive
Third:  Network Device   (also called Onboard NIC, LAN, or PXE)
  • Disregard or disable other boot options

☐ Save changes and exit BIOS.

4. Login to Xubuntu 12.04

☐ Login as the Default User, the default password is freegeek.
☐ Open the Laptop_Build.pdf printme from the Desktop. Check the notes section for comments from the Builder.

5. Quality Control Build Steps

Test USB Ports
Laptops should have at least two functioning USB ports.
☐ Use a USB mouse to test each port. Make sure you can move things around and switch between windows with the mouse cursor.
☐ Any bad ports identified on the Keeper Label or in the printme notes should be neatly covered with black electrical tape.

Some ports may seem to work but are missing the internal plastic guide that protects the metal pins. These are considered damaged because the pins are unprotected and may short out, causing damage to the laptop or USB accessories. Please point out any damaged ports to your instructor.

Test Wireless Internet Connection
☐ Make sure there is no ethernet cable connected.
☐ Click on the WiFi symbol to select the Free Geek wireless network.
☐ Open Firefox and navigate to an appropriate website, such as
☐ If you run into issues, check with your instructor.

Test Internal Speakers and 1/8" Audio Jack
☐ Open a terminal and type speaker-test -t wav -c2 -l1

  • You should hear an audio file play from both the right and left speakers.

☐ Find the headphone jack; it is usually colored green or marked with a headphone symbol.
☐ Find a pair of headphones or speakers from the shelf.
☐ Repeat the audio test with headphones; mark your findings on the Keeper Label.

Run stress-test
☐ Open a terminal and run stress-test.

  • If the test fails or the system shuts off or restarts, consult with your instructor. A failure typically indicates an issue with the CPU, GPU or motherboard, or overheating.

6. Software Updates

☐ Confirm the date and time shown on the desktop panel. Reset if needed.
☐ Plug in an ethernet cable from the bench if you are not currently connected.
☐ On the desktop panel, navigate to Menu → System → Update Manager
☐ Click the “Check” button and provide the default password when prompted.
☐ Click “Install Updates” if any updates are found. Wait for the installation to complete and close the completion notification when it appears.

  • If the notification informs you that an update has failed, check with your instructor.

7. Check for Boot Issues

Reboot the system from software
☐ Open a terminal and run sudo reboot. Enter the default password when prompted.

  • The system should now shutdown and automatically reboot back to the Xubuntu login screen. Check with your instructor if the system fails to reach the login screen by itself.

8. Test Optical Drive

Due to many problems with flaky software and unreliable disk media, we no longer test optical disk burning functions (CD-RW or DVD-RW) for laptop optical drives.

CD and DVD Read Tests
All drives should have CD-RW (CD read and write) and DVD-ROM (DVD read) capabilities.
You will need two testing disks:

  • CD-R or CD-ROM disk, such as an audio CD.
  • Commercial video DVD (movie, television show, etc.)

☐ Insert your testing CD, and wait a few moments. A file manager window should pop up.

  • Confirm that the operating system can read the files or audio on the disk.
  • If the window does not appear, check for the disk in the Places menu.

☐ Repeat the test with a DVD.

  • A media player should appear and the DVD should start to play. If it does not start then consult with your Instructor as this may indicate a problem with the DVD codec installation.

9. Run printme

☐ Open a terminal and type printme and press Enter. Follow the onscreen instructions.


  • Take your time and read the questions carefully.
  • For the question, “What kind of system is this intended to be?”, always choose the option that says “laptop”.
  • Check carefully for FG-PDX stickers and Uncovered Electronic Device stickers. Sometimes they are hidden by the Keeper Label.

☐ Have your instructor sign off on the digital copy of your work.

10. Print Spec Sheet

Print a file copy of the printme to the desktop:
☐ Select Print from the green section of the printme page in Firefox.
☐ Select Print to File from the list of printers.
☐ Name the file Laptop_QC.pdf
☐ Change the destination folder to Desktop and click Save.
☐ Leave Firefox open.

Print a paper copy of the printme:
☐ Navigate to Menu → System → Printing in the desktop panel.
☐ In the window that pops up, navigate to Server → Settings...
☐ Check the box next to “Show printers shared by other systems” and click “OK”. Close the Printer Settings window.
☐ Select Print from the green section of the printme page in Firefox.
☐ Select either Build Room or Laptops from the list of printers depending on where you are working. Click Print.

11. Finishing Touches

Clear Firefox browsing history
☐ In the Firefox window menu, select History → Clear Recent History...
☐ For Time range to clear: choose Everything.
☐ Click the little button next to Details to expand the list and check all the boxes.
☐ Click the Clear Now button and close Firefox.

Document the System ID number
☐ Shut down the system.
☐ Unplug the laptop, then remove the battery.
☐ On the printme, find the section labeled Gizmo Info and find the System ID.
☐ Write the System ID on a blank sticker and place the sticker on flat surface on the body of the laptop under where the battery would be.
☐ Replace the battery.

Finish the Keeper Label
☐ Check the Done box in the QC section.
☐ Take one last look and make sure all fields are filled in, and all sections completed.

Free Geek Stickers
☐ Put a black square Free Geek logo sticker on one of the front corners of the palm rest.

Final Instructor Sign-Off
☐ Have your instructor check your work, and sign off on the paper copy of the printme.
☐ Fold the printme lengthwise and place it between the lid and keyboard of the laptop.
☐ Have your instructor show you where to put the completed laptop.

Cleanup Your Work Area
If this is your last task for the day, be sure to put away tools, rags, cleaning supplies, and testing disks.

Thank you for volunteering!