The Lifecycle of a Computer

Similar to vehicles, it seems like the newer models of computers are not built like they used to. However, if you ask a car salesperson, they would probably disagree. The real problem is people don’t take care of their vehicles like they used to. They are expensive pieces of machinery that need to be maintained, oiled, and checked out regularly. Same goes for your PC or desktop. The main difference between a car and a computer is the fact that computers are used far more often, 8+ hours a day. Most of them are left on overnight and when they are in use, they are running multiple programs. To better understand your VIM (very important machine), we will take a look at the lifecycle of a computer in two parts.


Just like an automobile, computers are expensive. You should carefully consider all of your options when deciding on what type of computer to purchase. The worse thing you can do is to impulsively purchase a computer, especially if you will be using it for work in a network of other machines with important data or potentially sensitive information. Here are some important questions you should ask before purchasing:

  • Do you need more than one?
  • Do they need operating systems already installed?
  • What RAM and ROM options are available?
  • Do you have the ability to add additional memory?
  • Does the computer need to be compatible with other devices or machines on your network?


Now that the basic features have been determined, it is time to reach out to your vendors for a good price and a good value. If you are purchasing a single machine, you probably want to continue working with the same vendor. However, if you are purchasing a set of new computers it may be time to research your procurement options. Several vendors offer first time deals, including warranties, discounts, support and/or training. A few things to consider in the procurement process are whether or not discounts are available, warranty or extended warranty options, software included, and any return or exchange policies.


Although you are anxious to use your new machine, you should schedule time with your IT Administrator. If your new computer isn’t configured properly it can cause a lot of issues not only with your computer but could affect others on the network as well. Your IT Admin or team will need to properly configure the hardware, develop the system image, migrate all necessary data and applications, and setup the PC at your desk. Don’t rush through this process. The last thing you, or your IT Admin, wants are more issues to fix.

Usage & Maintenance

If the planning, procurement and deployment processes were carefully thought out, this should be the longest stage of the lifecycle. To prolong this stage, users should have the appropriate training and tools to maintain their computer’s health and longevity. The IT administrator or team plays a critical role in maximizing the computer’s health and longevity. It is their role to provide help desk support, training, asset management, configuration management, vendor support and management, scheduling patches and software updates, security and data backup and recovery. For some companies, it is best to outsource this service to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) who can utilize tools to proactively monitor and manage your computers.


Every computer has a retirement age. Most computers are built to last somewhere between 3 to 5 years. That’s why it is important to budget – money and time – for new machines accordingly. When you or your IT team start seeing signs of an aging machine, it’s time to start thinking about getting a new machine. It is an ideal time to reevaluate your needs, including the roadmap of your company’s IT infrastructure.

When it comes to disposing your old machine, this part of the cycle should be taken very seriously. Gartner explains: “Lack of clear policies or poorly designed processes can expose a company to various risks. In the event of litigation or investigation, the company disposing of the PC bears the burden of proof for showing that appropriate procedures were followed for disposal. Best-practice PC disposal processes provide an audit trail documenting the serial-numbered inventory of disposed PCs, certification that proprietary and personal data has been removed and made unrecoverable, and transfer/reuse of software licenses, where applicable.”


At Howard Tech Advisors, we manage your IT infrastructure so that you don’t have to. Whether you need assistance planning for new computers, creating a disaster recovery plan or you’d like to outsource your IT needs, we can help! Keep up with our weekly blog to stay up-to-date on the latest tech trends, security information you need to know to stay safe online, and tips and tricks to effectively navigating an increasingly mobile world.

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