Summer computer upgrades underway

Dell laptops

Approximately 215 laptops are replaced each summer

Each summer, a handful of Campus Technology Support technicians step away from their normal daily duties in order to focus on providing computers to employees eligible for the annual computer replacement program. Every four years, CTS replaces employee computers with up-to-date models that improve performance speed and enhance the capabilities of the user.

According to CTS Microsoft Engineer Wayne Thompson and Student Computer Support Specialist Darryl McIntyre, the summer replacement program grows each year.

“The numbers of computers we replace each summer grow,” Thompson said. “This year, we are replacing approximately 300 desktops and 215 laptops.”

Switching out more than 500 computers between the end of spring semester and the beginning of fall semester is no easy task.

“One of the biggest challenges is working out times to meet with staff and faculty who utilize laptops,” McIntyre said. “They carry their laptops with them as they go about their daily duties, so we have to find a time that works for everyone involved.”

The process for replacing a computer at Elon is both complicated and relatively time-consuming. However, it is a finely tuned process that ensures users are able to continue their work on a new computer with little to no setbacks in regards to losing data.

“When the computers first come in, we have to make sure everything is entered into inventory correctly,” McIntyre said.

This part of the process is what Thompson identified as the most time-consuming.

“We have to make sure the count for the computers is correct. Then, we have to unpack all the computers before we etch the service tag onto the chassis and put on the AV stickers,” he said.

Once that process is complete, the process flows more quickly. Technicians install LogMeIn and PCMover in order to transfer data over the network from the old computers to the new ones.

“Once that process is finished, we will make sure we set up user email accounts and verify that all their data was transferred from one computer to another,” McIntyre said.

Desktop computers

Old computers are sent to a third-party that safely removes content from the hard drive.

From there, student workers, who assist throughout the entire process, deliver replacement computers to the user.

The process for Mac computers differs only in the way data is transferred.

“We bring in Mac computers and have to transfer the data locally,” explained Apple Systems Engineer Michael Shepherd. “The process is streamlined, so people dropping off their computers in the morning usually receive them back in the afternoon.”

At the end of the day, Thompson said that even though the computer replacement program is lengthy, he truly enjoys the opportunity to experience a change in scenery.

“I really enjoy working on this project because it provides us with an opportunity to break out from a regular day and get a change of scenery,” he laughed.

Shepherd joked that what he enjoyed most was the fact that he spent his days opening up new Mac products, or, ‘fresh new toys.’

But what happens to the replaced computers?

“We have a company that comes in and removes and disposes of everything safely in a way where nothing is compromised,” McIntyre stated.

Ryan Gay

Ryan Gay

Ryan is the Manager of Service Management & IT Project Lead for Instructional & Campus Technologies. He has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from UNC-Greensboro.

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