15 June 2009

Extending extended warranties?

That was a new one to me, so I was temporarily at a loss for words. Should you pay to extend the extended warranties on computer systems? The rule of thumb for business systems is they generally last three to five years. Beyond that, the system either suffers a hardware failure or fails to live up to the abilities of the current software. That means there's a performance problem, and there's no magic blue pill for this one. So, to answer a question with a question, why would you fix a computer that's no longer capable of keeping up with the software you're using to run your business?

There is a context to everything, so to be fair I suppose it depends on the situation. Servers in general should have a five year warranty. Workstations, laptops, and printers should stick to three years. If it continues to function beyond the warranty, be happy you've gotten your money's worth and plan for its eventual replacement. Which comes back to a topic I've mentioned in the past, preventive maintenance.

Dentists stress the importance of preventive maintenance all the time. Brush, floss, regular cleanings. In terms of computer systems, preventive maintenance includes the replacement of old systems before they fail. Why not just run it into the ground? I suppose you could. I would prepare, however, for a fair amount of frustration and vocal dissatisfaction with how poorly the systems are running throughout the office. Particularly from your staff. Then there's the downtime while you wait for the failed computer to be replaced. Inefficiencies everywhere.

Looking at the Invoice to add a few more warrantied years to your office systems? Save the money and schedule an end of year replacement.