How much does your PC REALLY cost your company?

Let’s talk about what a PC really costs your company. Not just the purchase price. I’m talking about all the hidden costs and maintenance costs and crashes and viruses and worms that you have to deal with on a daily basis if you’re using a PC as your primary work computer.

As a programmer and system administrator, I prefer to have things just work. When I write a bit of code or a small shell script it’s a joy and brings great satisfaction to have it work the first time. The same holds for the computer on which I am doing the work. When I fire up one of my trusty Macs first thing in the morning, it’s a very odd day when something goes awry. On the other hand, when I fire up my PC laptop, I’m thrilled if I DON’T get a message that something didn’t load or there was some kind of problem or some file couldn’t be found. And this is a very nice Dell laptop running the latest version of XP with a ton of RAM.

I’m in our Santa Fe office this week and we have a new color printer in the office since the last time I was here. Naturally I needed to print something and happened to be on my PC laptop at the time. So I decided to plug the printer directly into the USB port and print. Not so fast?!? First, while Windoze did recognize that I had indeed plugged in a new hardware device (congratulations Windoze on that extraordinary piece of detective work) and wanted to know if I wanted to have it automatically get the drivers and such. Well of course I did, why thank you very much for asking. Well, you know how that went. Couldn’t find the software online that it needed even though it had correctly identified the printer when I plugged it in. So off I go to the big software cabinet to search for the CD that came with the printer those many months ago when it was purchased.

Yeee Hawww! I found the CD. This will make it easier. Well, you know how that went. “There was a problem installing the software from the CD. Your hardware may not function properly.” My hardware? A couple minutes ago we were on a first name basis with “My hardware.” Windoze knew what it was when I plugged it in and now it’s just “My hardware?”

I restart the printer. I restart the PC. I repeat. Here’s a guy, me, who really knows his way around computers and pretty much all devices digital, and I am now 47 minutes into what should be a simple task of getting a fancy new printer/scanner/copier working with Windoze XP. Finally something just starts to work (don’t you hate it when after doing the same thing 6 times it just starts to work on the 7th time?)

After 54 minutes I’m greeted by the “Print a test page” window and we’re done! Or so I thought. Once the test page is printed I have to “Please restart your computer in order to take advantage of your new hardware.” What?!? I just took advantage of my new hardware. We printed a test page and the world was bright and shiny and new again. Why Windoze, why do I have to restart all the time?!?

So I thought, let’s see how difficult it would be to use this printer/scanner/copier and the brand new iMac G5 I picked up last week. Well, while Windoze was restarting, yet again, I plugged the printer into the iMac, hit Apple-P (shortcut keys to Print) and lo-and-behold, the printer selected by default was the brand new printer I just plugged into the back of this brand new iMac. No drivers to install. No restarts required. IT….JUST….WORKED…

Meanwhile, Windoze is still restarting. Oh yea, and by the way, I haven’t even printed my document yet. So I fired up Apple Mail on the iMac, checked my IMAP account for the message that contained the document I wanted to print, hit Apple-P, and ta-daaaa, my document is printing from the iMac at the same time Windoze is asking me for my login.

For those of you at home keeping score:

Windows time to get a new printer working: *57 minutes* _and I still never printed the document_
iMac time to get a new printer working: *0.5 minutes*

How much are PCs running Windoze *really* costing your company?

AUTHOR: Mary Schmidt
DATE: 11/02/2005 07:51:05 AM

I’m sure many of us can relate to this one. And it makes me feel MUCH better than even you have such issues! I’m still beating Windoze and XP into submission on a daily basis. Sometimes Windummy decides it can’t find the printer to which it’s been attached for going on – oh let’s see – 3 1/2 years. I can only surmise they had a lovers spat during the night. If after restarting a couple of times, it still doesn’t work – I take that as a sign from the Universe I’m supposed to go do something else. Come back a bit later…and it fires right up.

And, still people are trying to tell me how innovative Microstuff is…hmmm…yes, and their basic code is still – sorry – terrible. (Funny – those people touting MS are also MS resellers and “service partners”…hmmmm.)