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When was the last time you updated your work computer?

If you had to pause and think about it, this post is definitely for you.

We’ve noticed a common issue for shops: They keep their heavy-duty equipment in sparkling condition, updating and repairing it as necessary…but then they leave their computers and tablets to languish. Maybe they run auto-updates now and then, maybe they don’t.

Here’s the thing: Not keeping your devices current can cause some problems.

A lot of problems, in fact.

Pretty much everyone has experienced it in some shape or form during their lives. Have you ever tried opening up Netflix just to get a “browser not supported” error, or some alert telling you to install a new version? Sometimes an update is easy – downloading and installing the newest version of your chosen internet browser, for example, is an easy fix for a lot of speed and compatibility problems you might be seeing.

But every now and then your device has just…well, it’s had enough, and no updates from the cloud will help it. Sometimes all the software updates in the world won’t help your aging device. That’s when it’s time to upgrade.

No one likes shelling out tons of cash for a new device, but if that device is an integral part of your business, you need it to be running in tip-top condition. Here are some of the biggest problems facing computer owners today, and why it pays to use up-to-date machinery.

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE IS A THING

Here’s the thing about all of your computerized equipment: It’s not built to last forever. You’ve probably heard the term “planned obsolescence,” right? We won’t get too into it here, but essentially it means a manufacturer builds its devices to…well…require replacing after a certain amount of time. This particular article is focusing on computing equipment, but the reality is much of society is built around planned obsolescence. Televisions, dishwashers, even cars – they’re all made to eventually be replaced.

To no one’s surprise, this is largely about money and forcing consumers to shell out more for your product or another, newer version of it.

But we’d also like to remind everyone that the more impressive and robust the operating system or software you want to run, the more impressive hardware you need to run it. Your 2010 laptop, for example, is probably not going to be able to run the 2020 version of the operating system because it won’t have the necessary computing power.

Let us clarify: We don’t like planned obsolescence. We make software for repair shops – your purpose, and ours, is to keep equipment going for years and years. So we acknowledge that planned obsolescence goes against pretty much everything we (and you) stand for. With that said…we use computers for everything we do at Fullbay, so we definitely feel it when something needs an upgrade or isn’t working like it should. With that said, this is the computing world we live in, so we’ve learned to work with it.

OLD MACHINES POSE NEW SECURITY RISKS

Everyone wants your data.

We don’t say that to scare you. But everyone wants your data. Think credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, birthdates, bank accounts…these are all things that are hooked into most of your devices for one reason or another.

Manufacturers are doing everything they can to keep people out of your devices. Often this involves releasing heavy-duty security patches that can take up a ton of space and demand a lot of resources. If you’re still using equipment from five years ago, you might well not have the space or computing power. If you can’t download the proper security updates due to the age of your machine, you might not be fully protected from data thieves.

We’ll take this opportunity to mention that Fullbay stores your data in the cloud, not on your devices – and we use the latest security protocols to keep your information the way it should be – safe and secure.

NEWER STUFF CAN SAVE YOU TIME

A newer computer will usually have faster processing speed.

True, the yearly updates are typically incremental. If you buy a 2020 machine, you may not even notice much of a difference over your 2019 edition; you’ll get a little more speed, maybe a little more memory. Things like that. But if you’re going from a 2010 tablet to a 2020 version, well, let’s just say you might be in for some whiplash.

But that’s not all. As new devices appear, software companies do their best to make use of improved computing hardware and resources. If your new phone has 8 gigs of RAM, for example, you can bet at least five businesses are creating or updating software to make full use of that 8 gigs. The resulting software will run smoothly on the new phone, and probably do all kinds of neat stuff, but if you try to run it on last year’s 4-gigabyte device, well, you’re going to have a bad time.

The point is, up-to-date equipment is always going to get the job done faster. It may shave seconds or minutes off each task you accomplish online. Maybe a few seconds isn’t critical to you in the short run, but when you stack those seconds or minutes – especially when using an app like Fullbay for everyday things at the shop – that can rapidly add up.

What could you do with an extra half-hour or hour in your day? Think about that.

A WARRANTY CAN SAVE YOU MONEY

Oh, no! Your tablet isn’t working. What do you do?

If it’s an older machine, you might bash your head against the wall a few times (or bash the device against the wall…we won’t judge). Then, if you can’t fix it yourself, you might call around to see if any repair shops can take it in.

Computer repair is still pretty expensive – even more so when it’s small, delicate devices like cell phones and tablets. Manufacturers have purposely made them more difficult to repair over time, often soldering in batteries, RAM and other components so they can’t be replaced. That hasn’t stopped repair shops from fixing things, but getting around manufacturer “safeguards” can lead to more expensive repairs.

Using a newer device usually puts you beneath the sheltering arm of a manufacturer’s warranty (and certain manufacturers also offer extended warranties). If something goes wrong, they’ll fix it right up. Not bad for peace of mind, huh?

NEWER STUFF = TAX BREAKS!

Need to upgrade your gear? You might get a break on your taxes.

In the U.S., if you’re buying a device strictly to use for your shop, then you can usually deduct the full price from your taxes – either in one lump sum or over the course of a few years. You might already be putting this deduction to work with your hardware and tools, but don’t forget to utilize it for your computing equipment, too. Tablets, phones, computers – if you’re using them for work (say, to run Fullbay), then you get a deduction.

(And hey, if you aren’t claiming Fullbay as a business deduction yet – get on that! You’re using us for work, after all!)

To maximize your tax savings, take stock of all your equipment (lifts and tools, not just computing stuff) and start putting your upgrades on a cycle. Maybe you get new computing equipment every three years, a new lift every ten years, and so on.

No matter where you’re located, we suggest sitting down with a qualified tax advisor, too!

KEEP ON TRUCKING

Look – we get it. No one wants to fork out tons of cash on devices that’ll be obsolete in a few years. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of our current computing world. By all means, keep your old computing equipment running as long as you can. But if you’re noticing misbehaving software or long load times, it may be time for an update.

Got a shiny new tablet and want to see how Fullbay runs on it? Give us a buzz and we’ll walk you through our free demo – we’d love to be your next tax break!

Suz Baldwin

Suz Baldwin got her start in the automotive industry, writing and editing for several motorcycle and classic car magazines straight out of college. In the years that followed, she’s written all sorts of copy for brands big and small while consuming enough coffee to paralyze a dinosaur.