Staff Desktop Computer Replacement for Administrative and Support Offices

by Joe Chow
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While some offices have managed to replace their staff PCs from time to time using their own resources, yet around 1,100 units of desktop PCs that are at least 3 years old are still being used by various administrative and support offices. Such old models are incapable of handling the Microsoft’s new operating system - Windows Vista, which the CSC plans to launch later this year and it requires at least 1GB on-board memory and faster CPU speed to run. In this connection, the Budget Committee has resolved to fund the replacement of the existing staff PCs for administrative & academic support offices in order to enhance the work efficiency. The Computing Services Centre (CSC) has been appointed to co-ordinate with offices on this exercise.

The Principal criteria for replacement consideration are:

  1. The desktop PC system unit and the monitor to be replaced must have been in use for more than 3 years and 5 years, i.e., delivered before 30 June 2005 and 30 June 2003 respectively.
  2. Each staff member is entitled to the replacement of at most one system unit of desktop PC and one monitor even though some staff members may have more than one (i.e. common PCs such as those located at conference room, etc. are not covered). The maximum number of replacement units for both desktop PCs and monitors cannot exceed the number of CityU full-time staff of the department as shown in the figures (as at 31 December 2007) submitted to the UGC for common data collection. Offices will have to pay for the extra cost should they wish to have desktop PCs or monitors in excess of their entitlement.
  3. The replacement includes the system unit of desktop PC (including mouse and keyboard) and/or the monitor only (the configurations attached). Notebook computers and other PC peripherals are not included.
  4. As it is a replacement exercise, the CSC will collect all replaced system units and monitors for redeployment.
  5. Departments wishing to retain their old PC system units and/or monitors are advised to write to the Chief Information Officer via the Acting Director of Computing Services with justifications for approval.
  6. Both data and software migration service from the old machines to the new machines will be provided free of charge but on a best effort basis.

Below is the configuration of the new system unit:

  • Desktop size chassis (~39.8cm x11.7cm x36.2cm)
  • CPU: Core Duo Process, 3.0GHz or above
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Hard disk: 250GB hard disk (mirrored)
  • DVD drive: DVD +/- RW
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Monitor :
    19 inches 4:3 LCD display monitor OR
    22 inches 16:10 LCD display monitor

In addition to the hardware replacement, staff should also upgrade their software by having Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 installed on the new system units. Even for some justifiable reason(s), if staff members need to stick with Windows XP for a while, they are still recommended to upgrade to Office 2007 as soon as possible in order to maintain compatibility with documents created by the majority of colleagues. As with any software upgrade, the improved user interface will take some time to get used to initially. However, once familiarized, the new and powerful features should improve one's productivity tremendously. In this connection, the CSC will organize relevant courses to assist our colleagues in picking up the Windows Vista and/or Microsoft Office 2007. Staff should watch out for CSC’s announcement on these courses.

Since this exercise involves quite a number of departments and computers, the length of the processes for the hardware replacement and the software upgrade will be very long. The implementation is expected to start this coming July and complete before the end of December 2008. The time required for each individual system migration will depend on the size and any complications that may arise, but the normal migration time will be a day or two. To minimize the impact on staff members, a planned and compromised schedule with the Departmental Network Administrator (DNA) will be prepared in advance.