CAD Management: Hardware Upgrade Jitters

November 29th, 2010

I recently had the opportunity to migrate my existing hardware to Windows 7 and also test out the Mac OS and hardware. This opportunity was unfortunately provided by my existing laptop, which had been giving me an increasing number of blue screens and "chkdsk" errors. Over the last few months I had experienced lockups, crashes, delays, and more in my existing XP install. I have maintained the XP system for some time – almost three years. So it was just kind of growing old.

What this made me realize is that I am "computer swap" averse. I get the jitters just thinking about the long process of changing hardware. I do not like changing machines. I do not resist change in other areas. I embrace change when it comes to software. I relish the challenge of changing culture or environments for the better. I look forward to what is coming next in the whole technology industry. But it seems that I do not like changing my own personal computer.

Here are some of my reasons for resisting the change…

  • I settle into a groove with my hardware because I know how it will react. I know what its quirks are; where the potholes exist. It's like my car. I know what those funny noises are and what dashboard lights I can ignore. I know when I need an oil change, not by the mileage or calendar, but by the way the car runs. You just get to know your equipment. PCs are like that.
  • There are settings I created when I first started using the machine and I forget what they are. These are the one-time settings that you go through when you first start using a machine or set as you go on the fly. The ones that send you in search of the process for setting them and then forget how to do it. The ones that are buried 9 or 10 clicks deep on some forgotten dialog box that hasn't been seen since you originally found it.
  • I have to reinstall programs. First I have to document what I have installed and then go through the process of finding the install CD or DVD and go through the install process. I also need to have the serial numbers and auth codes or media keys or whatever. I am an organized guy, but there is always some documentation I just can't find.
  • If I upgrade the operating system, then I have to find new drivers for old and existing hardware that I have not updated. Finding new drivers for some of the old stuff that we have carried along over the years may be tough. Some of my beloved old stuff may no longer work.
  • Some software might not make the jump. New upgrades may have to be purchased that would not otherwise if I had not upgraded. I have some old programs that I just love. Even though they do only one thing – they seem to do it so well.

Some of the incentives for an upgrade might outweigh the above resistance issues…

  • My machine will run faster. Even if all I do is reinstall the OS and clean everything up, it will run faster. I have so much clutter in my system registry because my machine is a test bed for software tools. I install and remove more programs than the average user. I install and then forget to uninstall more than most people use in a typical year.
  • My machine will actually be improved. If I install a larger hard drive, which I did, or add more RAM, then I will get a better machine than the one I had before. These upgrades may not cost very much and the upgrade process is not that hard even for those that have not really cracked open a PC before. There are plenty of helpful sites on the web that will show you step by step upgrade processes for many machines. Be aware of the warranty issues of doing your own work on newer machines.
  • I expect to get rid of the annoying little quirks that have haunted me for a long time. The little freeze ups and hesitation that stop me in my tracks. Some of the very things that make me love my machine also make me hate it.

So as I move toward the transition, I am a little excited and a little hesitant. Through it all I expect to see some of my worries vaporize, but I also know that there will be a few rocky steps along the way. All in all, transitions in hardware are usually for the better. Restoring a machine back to health, like I am trying to do, has its positives. Moving to a totally new machine has even more advantages.

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About the Authors

Mark Kiker

Mark Kiker has more than 25 years of hands-on experience with technology. He is fully versed in every area of management from deployment planning, installation, and configuration to training and strategic planning.  As an internationally known speaker and writer, he is a returning speaker at Autodesk University since 1996.Mark is currently serving as Director of IT for SIATech, a non-profit public charter high school focused on dropout recovery. He maintains two blog sites, www.caddmanager.com and www.bimmanager.com.

 

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