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As your team adapts to the new normal of remote working, they may be finding they are coming against the limitations of their existing home-based technology. However, as they aren't tech-savvy, they don't know what to do as they find their computers and other technologies begin to get between them and their productivity. As their productivity continues to suffer due to computer issues, your remote workers need to decide to repair, replace, or upgrade their computers. However, the only way to know what's the best option is to ask the right questions regarding your PC.
Has the warranty expired?
Most consumer-grade computers come with a 1-3 year warranty depending on the vendor, so it makes sense to repair any hardware failures that may occur during that time. However, once the warranty expires and repairs come out of pocket, the question becomes: does it make sense to invest more money to fix the computer than it is worth? This is particularly true for laptops.
A good device should typically outlive the warranty, but you can’t expect a desktop or laptop to serve you forever. Older hardware can’t support newer operating systems, and you never want your operating system to be outdated, because it opens you up to major security issues.
Is There a Decrease in Productivity?
Technology is continually changing, and with these changes comes obsolescence. While your computer may still be operational after five years or more, the industry is continuously releasing faster, more powerful hardware. Moreover, each new release of software is designed to take advantage of the more modern technology. If you try to run newer software on your older computer, you may find it is unable to run at optimal levels or even run at all. The result is a reduction in productivity.
Are You Maintaining Security?
While it may be tempting to use your older computer and not upgrade your software, this is one of the worst things you can do. The main reason why this is a risky proposition is that older hardware and software often suffer from exploits (security holes that hackers can take advantage of to compromise the security of your systems). While most vendors try to be diligent in patching these security holes, they prioritize newer technologies. For many of them, it simply isn’t worth the investment to maintain or upgrade older technology, let alone something that is five or more years old and is most likely near end-of-life. As South Dakota has one of the most robust data protection laws in place, using EOL, unpatched hardware and software can result in substantial financial penalties.
If your remote workforce is feeling frustrated by their slow PCs, you’re not alone. Many South Dakota businesses are dealing with the growing pains of supporting remote workers. Now that they are using computers used to surfing the internet and streaming video, to produce intense office work, their PC may be showing signs of their age or being under-powered. Fortunately, there are options to increase productivity, ranging from simple, cost-effective ways to repair or upgrade, to purchasing a new computer.
When it comes to deciding whether to repair your computer, the first thing you need to do is consider how old the computer is and whether it is still under warranty. While computers can certainly remain functional for years, there is, in reality, a useful lifespan for computers and technology, in general, to be viable. Many experts believe that after three years of use, it’s not a matter of if a computer will fail, but when it will.
As noted, the average lifespan of a business computer is three years; if your computer fails within that time frame, you should consider repairing it, regardless of a warranty or not. Once your computer goes beyond three years, you need to consider the cost of the repair (and labor) versus investing in a new computer. Before you make a decision, make sure you receive a free quote that includes all the variables. For example, if your hard drive has failed, and you need the data stored on it, you will also need a data recovery service. This would be an additional charge, besides the cost to replace the HDD. One way to avoid this potential disaster is by having a data and backup recovery plan in place.
Sometimes a repair, especially for a desktop computer, can be pretty low-cost. Some of the more common problems require either a reinstall of the operating system or need a component swapped out, such as a hard drive or power supply. Most of the time, this doesn’t require a whole lot of labor or guesswork, and is ultimately less expensive than buying a new computer outright.
Laptops can get a little trickier, as far as hardware goes, and it really depends on the device when it comes to what can actually be replaced. It also often takes a little more labor to crack open a modern laptop to replace a part. That said, if the fix is just a reinstall of Windows, it’s almost guaranteed that it will be less expensive than a new laptop.
As remote workers begin to settle into working from home, they notice that while their computers seemed to be perfectly fine for surfing the net, social media, or streaming video, it is much slower than what they are used to at work. Assuming that the machine is still within its three-year lifespan and is operating as expected, it may benefit from an upgrade. There are a couple of inexpensive and straightforward upgrades available.
Is the PC still under warranty? If not, how expensive is it to make repairs? Even with the repairs, are you able to run current software versions, most notably the operating system? When we say run, we mean run well. Windows 10, for example, has somewhat modest minimum requirements. However, we doubt you would be able to get very far without tearing your hair out in frustration while waiting for applications to open and get work done if you only have the minimum. In other words, just because you can run Windows 10 on your older computer, doesn't mean you should.
Does your machine have a viable upgrade path? While swapping out HDD for SSD or increasing memory can make a world of difference, some PCs, unfortunately, have hardware bottlenecks and, as such, are limited in how receptive they are to accepting upgrades. For example, is the memory soldered to the motherboard? If so, then you are limited to how much memory you can add. If you can't upgrade the PC and it's not cost-effective to repair it, your best bet is to replace it.
Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule. Everyone’s needs will be different. A person using their older computer only for using MS Word will have a different need than a person working in graphic design or CAD files. However, there are some rules of thumb to consider, most notably cost versus age. Compare the amount it would cost to upgrade or repair and how old the computer is. If it’s in the six or more year range, you should consider replacing it. If it’s under five, consider upgrading it, as the upgrade could gain you a few more years out of the computer, depending on the cost of the upgrades.
For example, if your old hard drive is the cause of the slowdown, then upgrading to an SSD makes sense, however if it’s the OS, and the hard drive, and the CPU, etc. then the cost of upgrading is probably not worth it. Moreover if you wait too long, your components may fail and you know they will fail at the time when you need them the most.
The best way to determine which path is best for you and your team is to have a diagnostic in order to gauge where your technology is. As one of the area’s leading HP partners, we have the expertise and technology to provide your business and team with the right solutions. For more information about computer repair service contact us at 605-341-3873.