When is a computer too old? This question is getting harder and harder to answer. Traditional PC lifecycle thinking says that a PC is efficient to use up to 4 years old, and no longer cost effective to use beyond 5 years old. This is because the cost of maintaining the system is greater than the value of this old PC or laptop.
If you are running your applications from the PC and storing any data on the hard drive, then I completely agree with the statement above. However, if you are leveraging cloud computing or Remote Desktop Services (sometimes referred to Terminal Services or RDP) then you might be able to get a little more out of that old hardware. This is because the old PC or laptop is simply a conduit to another system, and that remote system is where your applications and data reside. In this case the remote servers are doing all the work, and your old “hunk of junk” is simply acting like a dumb terminal while still allowing you to use thumb drives and local printers (security permitting of course). Who cares if your PC gets infected with a virus or malware? If all of your data and applications are on a cloud based virtual desktop, there is no need to worry. Just connect to your virtual desktop using a different computer, and you’re up and running again. For all of you small business entrepreneurs, this is another example how cloud computing can be even more cost effective to your bottom line and ROV (return on value).