Your computers are a large investment for your company and do have a regular cleaning and upgrade schedule that should become part of your company routine. There are several factors that can shorten the life of your computer, causing a greater-than-needed investment in technology.
Here are the items that provide the greatest predictors of how long your computers will last to help reinforce your business continuity strategy:
- Environment – where do your computers live?
- What software do you use and how often is it updated?
- What level of quality do you buy at the beginning?
Environment – where do your computers live?
Although computers have become more powerful and use less power, they still have moving parts (mostly the cooling fans) and generate heat. Heat exits the computer from the back and, on some models, the top also. Your computer should be at least 6 inches from a wall to allow heat to escape out of the back. Putting your computer closer than 6 inches will shorten the life of the power supply, as this generates the most heat in a typical computer. Computers should not be placed directly on the ground if your power supply is on the bottom of the computer. This will just act as a vacuum and suck in dust, carpet fibers, etc. These items will eventually cover the cooling fans and render them almost useless. Get a 4 to 6 inch stand to put your computer on to get it off the floor.
Finally, invest in a can of compressed air and take the side off your computer (this won’t do any damage) and blow out your computer twice each year. Blow from the front to the back. Ideally, power off your computer and take it outside so your office doesn’t become a dust bowl. Use the whole can and make sure there is no dust when you are finished.
What software do you use and how often is it updated?
A new computer is much like a new truck. When you first get it, it performs great and you have no problems. Then as you load on more programs and continue to upgrade those programs, it is like filling the bed of the tuck with more and more bricks. Eventually, the truck won’t move. Too often we keep adding software and upgrading that software, which increases the need for more “horsepower.” Software upgrades add new features that require more computing power.
However, how often do you upgrade your computer? The vast majority of computer owners never upgrade their computer and find themselves cursing at their computer when it runs so slow. As with the truck example, you would need to upgrade your engine to carry all the bricks. So too with your computer. Adding more system memory (RAM) and upgrading to a solid state drive will prolong the useful life of your computer and breathe new life into it, without having to buy a new one.
What level of quality do you buy at the beginning?
“You get what you pay for” is true with computers also. There are a lot of “cheap” computers available and you will regret buying one, especially for a busy office. Most often, cheap computers come with Windows Home version instead of the Professional version which is required if you are joining the computer to a company domain server.
Also, there are several grades of motherboards (which is responsible for holding all the components which run your computer), hard drives, memory (RAM) and power supply. Spending $100 to $200 more for your computer at the beginning and getting more memory (RAM) and a faster hard drive, will make your life easier and prolong the useful (and enjoyable) life of the computer.
Take a few minutes and contact your software vendors (you can also go to their website) to see what their software requires now and what future upgrades will require. Often, software vendors are planning a year or more out in the future with their upgrades and can give you an idea of how much horsepower you will need.
Treat your computer buying process as you would your insurance or office space acquisition process: get as much as you can at the beginning and you won’t have to worry about problems and upgrades for much longer. And, since we are so dependent on our computers for everyday productivity, spend a little more time and a little more money when purchasing and your computers will live happily ever after (or at least a few more years than expected).
About Accelera IT Solutions
Accelera IT Solutions is a Phoenix, Arizona-based provider of complete IT services and solutions including on-site support, remote support, data backup and replication (to our secure data center), consulting for HIPAA and PCI compliance, IT project management and cyber-security audits and planning. Accelera also specializes in hardware consulting and installation/setup of servers, workstation, laptops and desktops. Contact Accelera at 623-266-4190 or at www.acceleradata.com.