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When Should You Upgrade Your Work Computer?

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on June 17, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A number of unavoidable expenses go into running your own business. Maintaining the most efficient computer system for your needs is one of them. We went from writing by hand, to typewriters, to PCs, to talking to our computers all within a century. Technology is moving fast and nobody expects it to slow down.

This isn't to say you need to be on the cutting edge of tech -- you just need to keep your head above the water. So, what are the signs that it's definitely time to upgrade your computer?

Budgeting for Tech Upgrades

Unless you're working for a firm already, you're going to want to do this as cheaply as possible. Firms invest in their people and provide them with the best equipment that should not be any older than two years. If your equipment is older than that, your request for newer and more current equipment is a reasonable request. Just be very diplomatic when you ask for it.

But for solo attorneys, you're asking for a sign. Well, if any of the following happen to you, then you should consider making the $600 dollar outlay to buy a new setup.

When It Drags

Chances are you're not a Linux user and you have minimum proficiency in programming. PC users are primarily Windows users and that is frankly rather unfortunate. Microsoft, for all of its dominance in the office-management space, is lagging when it comes to keeping its software architecture up to date. As a result, your Windows' registry is highly susceptible to being bogged down.

And let's face it, Windows has got some serious issues these days. You can spend the time to purchase a registry cleanup, but desktops are cheap these days. Most people simply suggest upgrading at that point. Get your files on a disk and toss that old machine.

When You Get Assaulted by Spam

You're most likely getting assaulted by spam and other unwelcome popups if you or someone else who had access to your machine went onto sites they should not have. This also includes fake anti-virus messages, and popups claiming to be from the FBI or some other government agency. Your browser has definitely been hacked.

When Your Monitor Is Any Thicker Than 1.5 Inches

Not that monitors are crucial in our line of business, but it's a sure-fire indication that your tech is old if your desktop monitor is any thicker than one-and-a-half inches. Most of what lawyers do on screen isn't particularly graphics heavy, but your monitor's thickness as a quick and dirty gauge.

These days, thickness is becoming less of a dependable measure than screen size. Current computers' video cards are now equipped to drive bigger screens, so you practically can have a theatre inches from your face. If your screen size is less than 17 inches, you're also due for an upgrade.

When You're Hurtin' for Space

Lawyers don't do a lot of graphics work, but they sure do a lot of scanning of papers.

Some lawyers insist that documents be scanned into the computer at 600dpi -- even the black and white docs. This is definitely overkill and will completely plug up your cloud and your external hard drives. Fortunately, some cloud services will allow you to step down your resolution on your PDFs so you don't completely self-destruct.

Someone I knew would buy a 1.5 terabyte external hard drive and whenever he started to approach the 1.3 terabyte mark, he would just upgrade the entire system. It's not a bad approach.

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