Best practices for maintaining your computer at work

This content is 20 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

A couple of years back, I worked as a Project Manager in the IT department for a major fashion design, marketing and retail company. My main project provided a standard desktop operating environment, along with replacement mail and directory services, across Europe, vastly improving the overall reliability of the IT platform and the resultant user experience.

Being a retailer, our IT infrastructure budget was not huge, and it seemed that I was forever explaining why we “locked down” the desktop, and why we could not support users’ own devices on our network, be they notebooks, PDAs, or mobile phones (synchronising with our PCs). We had corporate standards, and they were set for good reasons (mainly supportability and reliability). It really didn’t help when senior executives started to buy Blackberry devices and expected them to work with our e-mail servers (and when the IT Director’s view was one of “just make it work”… but without an associated budget). Another bugbear was educating users not to open suspicious e-mails and attachments. On top of that, our users were spread across Europe, and there were cultural and legal differences which affected the way in which users considered “ownership” of their PCs and associated data (whether work PCs should be available for personal use, etc.).

Now Microsoft has published a document which would have been a really useful summary for my users (8 ways to help maintain your computer and devices at work). It may be a bit “high level”, but it is written for end users and it raises some valid points.

Actually, I think that the whole Microsoft At Work section of the Microsoft website is worth a look, with articles including:

I recommend that anyone who uses a computer at home or work, or who is responsible for supporting users in their daily IT activities should take a look.

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