To determine when it’s time for a new computer just ask yourself these two questions, is it still functioning reliably, and does it work for its intended purpose? When something breaks it’s pretty obvious you need to get a new one, but what if it stays working for 10 years? What good it is when no current software will run on it and you can no longer get replacement parts? Chances are at that point it is no longer able to fulfill its purpose and should be replaced.
The two concepts here are, “Fit for Use” and “Fit for Purpose”. These come from the Information Technology Information Library (ITIL), a set of best practices for how to manage IT Services.
Fit for Use simply means that something is physically able to be used. For example, a broken desktop computer is most likely not fit to be used for anything.
Fit for Purpose means that it allows you to achieve your objectives. As an example, a perfectly functioning desktop computer would probably not be a great fit for a traveling sales agent. In that case a laptop would probably be a better fit.
This is a very simplified way of understanding how to approach managing your hardware lifecycle, but it gets you in the right mindset. Stay tuned for an upcoming article where I discuss the basics of determining what your next computer should be.