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Four hours for a PC replacement estimate?

It’s very common for a new PC roll-out project to average up to four hours per system for roll-out.  While this may seem an extraordinary figure, like with most things in IT, it’s because the effort is often like an iceberg – there’s a lot more to it than what’s visible above the surface.

Unfortunately, you can’t just pull a new system out of the box, plug it into the network, and go.  Since many new systems come loaded with “bloatware”, our first step is to reimage the new system with a “golden image” – one that we’ve setup for use with no extraneous software taking up space or system resources.  Next, all recent operating system updates are applied, our tools to enable antivirus and future security updates are installed, and the system is prepared for delivery.  After delivery on-site, we have to remove the old system from the desk, unbox and replace with the new system, get initial connection to the network, install applicable software, migrate local user data, have the user test and verify usage, clean up cabling, and prepare the old system for reimaging or recycling.  Whew… 4 hours per system can go by FAST, and that’s true whether for 1 or 10 or 100.

Leveraging an imaging system which includes the applications needed as part of the base image is a solution often leveraged by those with a large installed base.  However, the time necessary to create and maintain the up-to-date images is often as much or more than the time to manually install the applications, and the average time spent per system similarly ends up around the 4-hour per system mark!

Of all the steps, the one in which the client can most accelerate the process is with the migration of local user data.  For example, a recent project saw a client that had a user for whom it took over 24 hours for their local data to migrate to the new system due to its volume!  A little pre-migration planning and data purge can have a big impact on reducing the time necessary per system for that upcoming replacement project.