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7 Critical Tips for Buying the Right Computer for Business Use


We’ve recently noticed many business owners getting duped by the allure of purchasing low-cost retail computers for use by their staff. Unfortunately, there are big differences between home computers and business workstations for office productivity.

This oversight invariably results in a significant waste of time and money. Not to mention tons of frustration because these computers have to be repackaged and returned; often after spending hours trying to upgrade a “cheap” computer, which usually isn’t even possible due to operating system limitations or lack of processing power. Then there is further punishment in having to find a new workstation or wait for one to be delivered with the features needed to run Window 10 in a business environment.

To help you avoid this nightmare scenario, we’ve listed the seven important things you must understand when purchasing business workstations:

  1. Defunct Windows 7: First released in 2009, Windows 7 will no longer be supported by Microsoft in 2020 per the Windows Lifecycle. It’s time to rethink your strategy with Windows 10 because old applications like old versions of Windows will not be supported by the manufacturers and may not even run on newer hardware.
  2. Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise: You’ll need a machine with Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. Software dictates hardware requirements and Window 10 Home can’t connect to a business network. While Pro is fine for small businesses, we recommend Enterprise because it has more security features to protect the workstation and network from unwanted threats. For more, here is a link to the Windows 10 website.
  3. Upgradeability: For an additional $199, you can upgrade Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro eliminating any perceived savings and often causing various nagging upgrade issues afterwards.
  4. Hardware Support: That inexpensive consumer machine is only designed to last for a year and often is not on the Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List, which means you become solely responsible for any type of support issues and cannot contact Microsoft for help.
  5. Proper memory and speed: While Microsoft’s Windows 10 minimum requirements are one or two GB of RAM, business computers need a minimum of 4GB RAM. Home computers also have slower processors, causing them to be too slow for business use and come with pre-loaded games and apps not needed for business.
  6. Correct Microsoft Office version: Office Home and Basic won’t come with enough business applications for commercial use. Also, even pre-installed Office Pro Plus has no upgrade protection and lives and dies with the life of the computer meaning you cannot legally install elsewhere. Although it’s a monthly subscription, Office 365 is the cheapest way to buy Microsoft Office.
  7. Monitor Compatibility and Multiplicity: While tempting to save a few dollars to try to keep your old monitor, get a new monitor because the VGA technology of 1987 is lower resolution and not compatible with newer DVI connections. Likewise, home or consumer computers only support a single monitor. You can walk into almost any office and see that two or three monitors are now the norm for business users to be their most productive, which requires a business workstation with multiple display adapters.

If you follow the guidelines above, you can onboard that new staff member or smoothly replace an existing workstation without unnecessary aggravation for you or your staff in delays and strange problems that never truly can get resolved. To get even more advice that you’re likely not getting from your IT support vendor, download our Revealing IT Service Provider Advisory and follow this blog.

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