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General Chat Thread, Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use? in General; Im not really considering actually refusing to support stuff, as I cant see that going down too well with anyone ...
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    Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    Im not really considering actually refusing to support stuff, as I cant see that going down too well with anyone but just wondered if anyone does or if there is any guideline that says computers must be of a usable spec or anything?

    Thing that brought this up is yesterday got a note to go and have a look at a departments laptops. Out of 16, 8 apparantly wernt working. Out of them there were only a few actually not working but thats besides the point. To check those 8 took me over 45 minutes since they are so excruciatingly slow.

    As with a lot of our PC's, they were inexplicably ordered with only 256MB RAM by previous IT Staff and so run like treacle with XP SP2, especially when Sophos is involved as well

    And when we produce a replacement/memory upgrade plan, SMT virtually ignore it or drag their feet because they would rather spend money on adding hardware rather than making sure what is here is usable

    So whenever there is a problem with a PC/laptop like this, it just wastes a LOT of our valuable time waiting for the damn things.

    Another example - a teacher had said SIMS wasnt working on her PC. Went to her room after school, and the time taken between switching it on and trying to log into SIMS was FIFTEEN minutes. Again, 256MB RAM, XP SP2, Sophos, SmartBoard and SIMS do not mix well...

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    mrforgetful's Avatar
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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    Usually we'll keep things going as long as we can, but more recently we've started to abandon the older systems.

    PCs with 10Gb HDDs (the image wont fit on that), with Celeron 600MHz and (last year upgraded to) 256Mb RAM, which won't PXE boot, tend to get abandoned as there's only a dozen or so left but they really need to go.

    Once they get around 4 years old they've been redoployed to somewhere that is so greatful to have anything at all they very rarely complain they're slow.

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    gwendes's Avatar
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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    It's very frustrating having to use old kit but quite easy to hammer home how the problem can be resolved. Remove the memory from half the "not working" machines and install in the others. Problem solved? If so you've got leverage with SMT. If not then you need to start looking at where else the problem may be.

    You should still get a speedy boot on a clean install with 256MB - try and run applications (particularly the old Sophos) and you might as well hide in a cupboard

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    If it is equipment which was provided by your department, I think you are obliged to either support it despite its unusable state or upgrade it to the point that it becomes usable again.

    If the PCs are as slow as you say, then also get the department(s) to petition the SMT for new/upgraded equipment. The two-pronged "attack" will hopefully re-assure SMT of the necessity and importance of the upgrade.

    BECTA guidelines used to say that all PCs should be 5 years old or less, but they have recently revised that to a less clear-cut "the PC must be capable of running modern applications".

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    Sidewinder - I don't think you're in any position to refuse to support the hardware, if it's got windows XP then it's not *that* old. You should however push for them to get a RAM upgrade.

    about 30% of the computers in my school are under 256mb RAM thanks to poor specs by the last network manager, they're 4 years old but I'll have to support them for up to 4 more years thanks to poor budgeting by <insert people above me>.

    We can't refuse to support equipment because it's a bit slow, if it's old, causing problems to fix or simply near impossible to update (95/98) then yes you'd be able to but as it stands you'd be refusing to support valuable hardware because it was an inconvenience to yourself.

    Sadly it's your job, I know how annoying it can be to work on computers that are loaded with software, with next to no RAM and being asked to install even more stuff that it'll run at a snails pace!

    I suggest you look at making a very clean and minimal image for them ASAP. I've done this for our 95 PCs in the library which oddly enough I haven't been near in 8 months.

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for us

    We have a very frustrating Head of Performing Arts here. I helped him last year convince the SMT that a MacBook trolley was "a good idea" and he received 10 of them at the start of this academic year.

    Around Christmas time I'm wandering from the server room to one of the suite rooms and see him orchestrating the arrival of some reclaimed equipment from a music college. This includes very useful things like keyboards, headphones, various other instruments and then some not very useful things like 486(!!!) machines with 128mb RAM and installed with Windows '95. Similar spec to around 25 old Dell GX100s that I've being trying to do away with since I was appointed NM.

    I outright refused to support machines that are introduced to the school without even an enquiry/justification before they arrive on site. I've also told the Head of Arts and the SMT why, because of the above reason, they are not to be put on the network. I do have the support of my line manager on the SMT, so I'm on pretty firm ground about this.

    Now the machines are supported by the LEA's music technician (who agrees with me that they are not fit for purpose). I do feel more guilty now that a new Music teacher has started and she's arrived in the middle of this politics but I think she understands my position now that I've explained what happened.

    In summary, the legacy machines that were here before I arrived; I support and push to the top of the development plan. Machines that are brought in behind my back are not going to get a minute of my time.

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    If possible try to get a performance testing program and run benchmarking on all your kit. Draw up a set of standard results based on where you are going to use the kit and inform the SMT that this will be your baseline for future requirements.

    If possible show them the difference in results on a plain XP machine, XP SP1 and XP SP2 ... they can then see the performance degradation caused by patching ... and then show them the mess that happens if you do not patch (since they will then tell you not to patch so that you can keep machines running longer!)

    Where possible try and get the backing of teachers by upgrading one or two machines to 512MB and show them the difference. If SMT will not listen to you they will listen to the hordes of angry teacher banging on their door ...

    Nasty ... but works.

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    We've reached the point now where if it's going to cost us £30-40 in memory/HD upgrades for a PC below midrange Athlon/Duron spec, we seriously consider just replacing it with a refurb PC. At around £85 for a 2Ghz P4/512mb/80gb machine it seems like just throwing money away trying to keep our old 1Ghz clunkers going... They can be reused as basic word processing machines or print servers/proxies etc around the school but as you say, the amount of time spent fixing them outweighs their usefulness - how long before the time you've spent looking at them has cost the school £85 in your wages anyway...

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    I do not give full support to any hardware that is purchased without my knowledge. That which I do know about is kept at a minimum standard using a rolling replacement plan.

    If SLT want to add more and more machines, I simply point out that the money should be spent keeping what we have up to date since 50 good computers are more useful than 100 aging ones.

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    if they run like a dog on Windows XP, Isnt it worth putting Windows 2K on?

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for us

    Quote Originally Posted by FN-Greatermanchester
    if they run like a dog on Windows XP, Isnt it worth putting Windows 2K on?
    I did actually consider that, only sticking point is the lack of wireless features built into 2000. Desktops I may well do

    Also, whoever said about upgrading a few and letting the teachers know, I like that idea, thanks

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    thats true i had many problems with wireless on 2K, what make are your adapters?

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for us

    f they run like a dog on Windows XP, Isnt it worth putting Windows 2K on?
    If your going to do that - just install vanilla XP sans SP2 - it runs great on 256MB.

    Unfortunately, other software thinks it can only run on an XP SP2 system

    regards

    Simon

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    Your also wide open to a lot of fun viruses and other related security problems. You haven't been getting patches since October 2006 remember?

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/sup...pport.mspx#EHB

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    Re: Can you/do you refuse to support hardware not fit for use?

    We will support anything which we speced up, for example, a teacher decided they wanted a printer for their classroom, so decided to go to a well known super market with a blue and red logo and buy a cheap £25 one. Then expected us to install it!

    We reserve the right to refuse as 1) we didn't spec it 2) we didn't even know about it 3) it's wasn't laser and 4) under BSF there is a ratio of a 6 PC's to one high performance laser printer. It then got returned somewhat promptly.

    Teachers!!!

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