"Get Windows Vista!" says a colleague. Another says, "Don't waste your money! Wait till Microsoft gets it right with Windows 7!" Your head spins. Another headache coming on. You really should upgrade to the newest OS, right? And upgrade your Office to 2007, right? And Adobe just came out with CS4, so naturally you need to get the newest slickest stuff to keep your marketing/design folks happy, right? Wrong. Read on to discover some of the key factors you need to consider before upgrading anything in your computer and IT infrastructure.
If It Ain't Broke...
I have a confession to make. I have always loved the "latest/greatest" anything, be it a toaster, car, computer, or even running shoes. Call me the ultimate consumer, a trained monkey, or a "new-a-holic," but something in me just thrills to have the best of everything. Probably because I grew up having broken stuff, and spending endless hours helping my Greek father fix them. I got tired of stuff that didn't work, and I longed for better things. Perhaps you can relate.
Now this little tendency has caused me quite a bit of trouble over the years. And helped me learn a lot as well. In fact they don't call the latest technology the "bleeding edge" for nothing. Yet I have happily, blindly, ignorantly galloped into Microsoft's newest OS's for years, dug my teeth into beta versions of software, and even bought the first version of the iPhone when it first came out (and no, I didn't wait in line all night to get one!). So what's wrong with that?
Well, technically nothing, as long as you love a challenge and a good headache. You see, I wasn't smart enough (or perhaps tired enough) to avoid installing said latest/greatest into my production systems, treading fearlessly into unknown waters until something broke, real good! Then I had to fix it, or miss a deadline or opportunity. Which leads me to the subtitle here, the first rule of thumb with upgrading anything at all on your computer is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Let's define terms now, shall we?
"If it ain't broke" has a simple, elegant meaning. Exactly as the English words state, if a computer system or software application is operating correctly and you are able to accomplish what you need to do with it, then leave it alone.
"But it's only running Windows 95!"
Leave it alone! I cannot stress strongly enough how important this is. There is absolutely no business reason to upgrade a computer's hardware or software if it is functioning to specs, period.
PERIOD! Now you are starting to sound like my exuberant youthful foolhardy new-loving heart. Tsk tsk.
Click to page 2 to discover the main problem with upgrading a system.