With IT being such a fundamental part of any business the need to ensure that the infrastructure, services, applications and the computers all continue to operate as required is a necessity. There are multiple ways to ensure that this takes place, the most common of which is computer maintenance. The computers on a network are all individuals. They all have their own performance speeds, different applications installed, different processors and amounts of memory and of course, different user profiles. This makes the management of a network infrastructure a difficult task. There are many components to a network, all with their own requirements for regular maintenance; however, it is the end user’s PC and the requirement for their computer maintenance, which is most often overlooked. Switches, servers, hubs, routers and backups are regularly scheduled into an IT department’s workload. The switches, hubs and routers are all regularly checked to ensure that communication from the end user’s PCs to the servers are still achievable. Backups are run nightly in most cases so that all of the work completed during the day is copied, in case it gets lost or corrupted at a later date. Without the servers, the entire network becomes unavailable, so servers often take precedence to ensure continued smooth operation. Most large organisations that have been running for an extended period of time will consist of a vast array of different machines on the network, all with their own specifications. Single core Pentium 4 PCs with 286MB of RAM can sit alongside a dual-core Intel machine with 2GB RAM. This is mainly due to the constant hardware refresh. With no schedule in place for continued computer maintenance machines tend to be replaced only when they break. Users can suffer with poor performance and overworked CPU’s for years before their machine is upgraded or it finally breaks. The results of which can mean many wasted hours in the day waiting for windows to load, applications to start running again and waiting for the egg timer or spinning circle icon to finish loading. With a basic computer maintenance program this can be avoided easily. WSUS servers should be put into place so that all machines on the network are running with the latest windows updates. Before upgrading the network’s anti-virus software or installing a new network based application, all of the machines should be checked to see if they are compatible and meet the minimum requirements. Alarmingly the vast majority of software roll outs occur without this basic check. This can result in overworked machines that aren’t able to support the new software and consequently then become un-usable. An application that is installed to assist and protect the network can inadvertently expose a lack of planning and organisation. This results in unforeseen extra cost to the company to purchase upgrades or completely new machines to meet the new minimum requirement of a machine on the network.

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