Desktop computers have seen a drastic decline in value these days thanks to laptops, netbooks and now tablets. In lieu of this, there are still people out there, businesses mainly, that use a desktop and depend on them to make their business run. When it becomes time to upgrade most businesses have good sense and they upgrade.
So, why do I still encounter clients running Windows XP or even worse, Windows 2000!? Digging deeper into this I think I’ve found some answers:
Old Software and Old Computers (Boat Anchors)
Many businesses use specialized software that can be expensive but helps the business run. If the software works well then the company gets used to it and (often times) years go by maintaining the status quo. When it becomes time to upgrade, the old adage; if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it comes to mind.
This makes sense until the software or the old desktop running it breaks. Then theirs’ a scramble to get it fixed but it can’t be easily fixed because: the software is out of date and no one supports it anymore, the company has lost the installation disk or floppies (yes, floppies), the computer running the software has crashed and because it has an old operating system, simply reinstalling the software on a new pc can not be done or it takes forever to devise a work around.
All of this leads to more downtime then necessary and possibly the loss of data. Granted, if you have a backup, you will not loose the data. However, what is the point of having the data without a program to read it?
Ignorance is Bliss
Microsoft has not made it easy, because of their own fault, to transition from older operating systems because of incompatibility or a flawed and confusing product model (starter, basic, home basic, home premium, business, enterprise). I believe this leads to an unsure user who instead of dealing with the jargon or the steps necessary to upgrade, simply buries their head in the sand.
The above issues will be avoided by hiring competent IT personnel. Of course that costs money and the economy is not what it used to be so many businesses are feeling the crunch. Without money to invest in infrastructure, the business will suffer over the long term when they HAVE TO UPGRADE. Just like the dentist, if you put off upgrading your systems, it WILL lead to costly and even painful situations down the road.
Great, so what do we do about it?
Take baby steps, everything does not need to be done at once and you do not need to upgrade your software once a year. My experience has taught me that upgrading software (except for antivirus, which is once a year!) every 2 years is a good rule of thumb and replacing computers every 3 years is also a good idea. This way the cost of upgrades are spread out over time. Now if you have 5 year old computers and want to upgrade the software, you might run into issues because new software is written to use today’s technology. Sure the software will probably work but it will likely be slow. In this case, upgrading RAM is a good stop gap measure until you can replace the system.
So that’s it, by taking little actions over time, YOU can be in control of your computers and take action according to YOUR plans and not to bad circumstances.