Concerning the hardware, it is any PC over 5 years old. Any PC in the workplace over 5 years old is obviously owned by the company as no OEM would dare lease computer boxes for over that length of time, due to the fact the liability is too great.
Concerning the software, it is any OS that is not supported directly by the OEM any longer, with the keyword being directly. It also counts for any apps/programs used that are no longer supported.
When you put the above two together, you’ve got yourself an ancient crappy PC. This is the computer that literally takes 5 minutes or longer to boot due not only to the crappiness of the PC itself but also the network it connects to. Doing anything on this computer is an exercise in patience, and a whole lot of patience at that.
Many who have to deal with computers like this in the workplace often wonder, “Doesn’t this slow down productivity by having to wait for the stupid computer to do things all the time? Wouldn’t it be worth the cost to at least upgrade the PCs being they’re so cheap these days?”
These are legitimate valid concerns. But there are reasons why these oh-so craptastic computer boxes stay around:
1. Nobody is complaining.
When nobody complains as to how slow the computers are, upper management thinks everything is A-OK and that nothing needs to be done.
Why is it more people don’t complain? The answer is simple: They don’t want to lose their jobs by being labeled as a complainer.
2. The department (supposedly) has no budget for new computers.
You will notice certain departments (usually Finance, Sales and, of course, Marketing) always seem to get nice fast newer computers while you’re left to suffer with junk. This is because the department has no money for PCs, either for real or fabricated reasons.
If you’re wondering what a fabricated reason is for “we have no money for new computers,” all you have to do is look around your department to see if there are any new/shiny things around that serve no legitimate business purpose for what your dept. does – such as your boss outfitting his or her office with all brand-new expensive furniture that absolutely wasn’t needed. Now you know where the money went.
3. It’s a “home grown” app made by somebody who doesn’t work there anymore.
You may have this specific program at work that makes you grit your teeth every time you have to use it. Is it so old that you’re surprised your computer doesn’t gag and wheeze every time you run it. This app crashes constantly and no matter how often you complain, nobody is able to fix it.
“Home grown” programs you use made by employees of the company who coded it in-house (meaning in-company) originally. But those employees are long gone. They either quit or retired long ago and there is nobody left to support these dinosaurs any longer. Not only that, but nobody wants to put the time, effort, or spend the money to convert these dinosaurs over to newer, more efficient and moreover supported systems.
On top of all that, this is also part of the reason the company refuses to upgrade anybody’s desktop OS because they have absolutely no clue whether that home grown app will work on XP, never mind Windows 7!
There is unfortunately nothing you can do about this except hope for a major system crash server-side that forces the company to fix it.
4. Prevention of in-office political bickering.
This is when departments refuse to upgrade anything just to keep people from yelling at each other.
“Well, John got a new computer. Why can’t I?”
You can see how this would turn into a bicker-fest in short order. If John gets a new PC, then Bob has to get one. When Debbie see that, she wants one. And so does Alice. And Tom. And so on.
There are times more often than not when upgrades don’t happen just to keep the peace. Personally I think this is a rather stupid thing to do, because there’s no excuse considering how utterly cheap new boxes are these days. Yes, it does cost time to set them up and “vanilla” them, but c’mon.. just get new boxes and be done with it already.
5. Slowness of computers allows those in charge to be lazy.
There are department heads who are very happy to keep things just as they are, slowness and all – even if they do have the budget for new PCs. This is so they can take two-hour lunches and simply not worry about it since there’s no way anybody would be finished with whatever it is they’re doing by the time he or she comes back.
See, the deal is that a boss really doesn’t want to hear how you could be more productive with a new computer. But if a new computer allowed the boss to do less work and be even more lazy, then you’ll probably have a new PC on your desk next week! Sad but true.
Do you have slow crappy computers in your school or office?
I’m betting you do. Tell us your tales of woe.