Q&A Monday: Hold onto spare parts?


I have a boss that constantly wants us to keep computer equipment, even though most of it is trash.  He claims that the parts will come in handy if we need them down the line, but we have some computer parts for over 10 years, does it really pay to hold on to technology?

Bobby Hancock
Mountain View, CA


I have to admit, there have been times in my life where I’ve been a computer hoarder on the job.  I’ve been in situations where and old servers or old parts gave me a temporary patch until I could get newer component in.  That’s where my habit of holding onto parts started, was that there was some use to decommissioned products.  The problem was that like everything else, when does a product stop being useful and starts being junk?

While it’s up to each individual IT person or group, but here are somethings that I have on my personal check list to help me decide what is good and what is junk.

  • Does the hard drive technology still work for your equipment. (i.e. If you have IDE drives and all your computers and/or servers use SATA)
  • If the technology is more than 5 years old (i.e. a dell from 5 years ago wont help if all your other equipment is newer)
  • Does the computer components fit any current computer? (i.e. if you have PS2 connections, but don’t have any PS2 mice or keyboards around)
  • If you had to use the equipment, would it cause the users to complain (i.e. the ram, processor or hard drive are so outdated, it’s painful to use)
  • Is the hard drive under 50 GB, if so, you may find out if it had to be used, you’re going to fill it up pretty fast)
  • If you want to keep equipment or components than keep no more than 2 of it. (i.e. 6 old hard drives is more than enough when you may need 1)
Bobby, I hope this will give you some guidelines in which to go to your boss and mention.  It may take a while but with these basic rules and adding more of your own, will help you keep just enough if emergencies, and not too much that you end up on hoarders.


If  you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line atme@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question.  Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and during the rest of the week for other technical insights.


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