Is it just you or is your computer tired too?

Recent work has brought me into contact with some tired systems, and I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but over the last few years even cheap cheap gear is better built now and lasts well beyond a sensible usable time.

I fished a laptop out of a cupboard the other day, it was a decent spec but eight years old.  Amazingly it had 40% battery and fired up first time. I stuck Windows 10 on it and instantly regretted it.  It just couldn’t keep up.

We’re all being lulled into a false sense of security with this old kit lasting longer.  With the demands of modern software often being more resource hungry and, in some cases, bloaty, old kit just won’t cut it anymore.

But so many of us don’t measure our time lost in booting up a machine, or waiting for software to load up, transferring files, rendering, moving, copying, printing, etc, etc.

You should.

And before you think this is just some hastily typed up piece to encourage you to buy a bunch of new equipment it’s not. It’s just an observation by someone with enough time served to see the changes.

Kit has always aged. The main culprits being speed (memory, processor) and storage (disks) as demands increase the equipment stops being relevant.

But wringing every last £ out of your investment drives some companies to keep on with “perfectly good” equipment.

And staff invariably pay for it in frustrating wasted time.

So the answer is new equipment?  Well not necessarily. Certain upgrade paths are possible depending on the need. And if you must go with new even entry-level equipment is pretty decent these days, and then there’s leasing.

Seeing frustrated operators is one of the things I see most of when I’m on site, it’s right up there with the mating call of the frustrated user “I didn’t do that, the damn computer did it!”

As industry experts we don’t often help either.  I’m sure most of my peers are like me, we all have our own process for cleaning up a computer, making it run a little better, squeezing every last bit of performance out of it.

The industry axiom of a thing being fit for purpose should be strongly considered here – it’s an art form figuring out when your faithful electronic companion has given his all and really needs a shot in the arm (or tossing out of the window!) or simply trading in for a newer model.

My personal way of working is to establish the cost of upgrade/replacement and try to understand how long it’d take before that cost is burned up in lost time – be strategic, does the receptionist need a top of the range PC or would it be better in the drawing office?

Security standard require us to review processes, whilst you’re doing that why not review operational activities too – canvass your staff to see who’s the most tired, and act!

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