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When To Upgrade PCs: 4 Tips For A Smart IT Strategy

Planning an upgrade can be a very complex undertaking.  New releases of Windows are an especially challenging part of managing the corporate-wide infrastructure.

Figuring out a corporate-wide PC upgrade timetable has never been easy for enterprise IT managers. Ideally, the sweet spot for an upgrade is right before employee output begins to suffer due to slow, unreliable, or incapable hardware. Easy to say, not so easy to do.

English: Windows XP editions
Windows XP editions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Employee duties vary widely from user to user — and from one department to the next. If you’re in charge of determining PC-refresh timelines, you probably have your power users identified, and you’re likely using a fixed rotation schedule. In my experience working with IT professionals, a fixed upgrade schedule is no longer the best PC replacement method. Cloud computing and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are among the factors changing user behavior, and directly impacting how you approach your PC upgrade strategy.

These days, your PC fleet should be evaluated annually, and upgrades should be budgeted based on these four key factors:

1. OS Upgrade Strategy

Over the past few years, I’ve noted that the primary reason why many IT departments were replacing employee PCs was to coincide with a major Operating System upgrades. For example, moving from Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7 by replacing not only the OS, but also the hardware, was seen as the path of least resistance to get end-user buy-in. The same can also be said if your enterprise is ready for the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

By and large, a clean installation of a new OS is a better option than an in-place upgrade, which can have adverse and unpredictable effects.

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