Hardware Replacement, Retirement, and Redeployment Policy

Revised: December 2015

Replacement Philosophy

Computers have a functional life both at the college and in specific installations. The average life cycle of computers at the college is listed in the Hardware Lifespan section below. In general, units should be replaced in specific locations when the hardware becomes a barrier to the user. This occurs primarily when the college's standard software suite, or the software required for instruction, service, research, or business activity will not run effectively on the existing hardware; or when the existing hardware has begun to malfunction on a repeated basis. All users, no matter their role or location at the college, will have their computers replaced on a timely basis.

This policy is also designed to provide clear and open communications between the users and the ComArtSci Technology Office, which shall both implement and oversee this policy. The ComArtSci Technology Office is open to feedback from all users and will modify this policy in order to meet those needs, while still working within the budget framework for replacement.

Hardware Life Spans

Specifications and Standards

The ComArtSci Technology Office will make every effort to purchase uniform technologies, in order to make replacement, parts replacement, and repair easier and less expensive (for the Total Cost of Ownership). To this end, new computer purchases will be limited to Apple, Dell, or Microsoft branded hardware.

Non-Standard Equipment

Any user or group that chooses not to use the standard systems the college deems appropriate (See Computer Reccomendations) must recognize the total cost of ownership. For this reason, it will be the user’s or group’s responsibility to maintain these technologies through the technologies lifespan. Exceptions to the standard systems will be subject to approval by the Technology Director and may or may not be fully supported by the ComArtSci Technology Office.

Grant-Funded Equipment

Individuals pursuing grants or having one-time monies for computing equipment should discuss their plans with the ComArtSci Technology Office as part of the budgeting process. They should also consult with the ComArtSci Technology Office to ensure that the equipment being purchased meets their goals and standards. Computing equipment that is acquired under grants will enter the inventory and be upgraded on a regular replacement cycle only if approved at the time of the application for the grant.

Request for Exceptions to the Computer Replacement Process

In some situations users may be required to run special software or perform unique tasks as part of their assigned job duties and may need a computer with more memory, a faster processor, a larger monitor, or a larger hard disk than the one they are using or will be assigned. Users in this situation may request that their workstation be evaluated to determine an appropriate upgrade path. The ComArtSci Technology Office may recommend additional memory, a larger hard drive, or possibly a newer workstation.

There can be exceptions to the standard platform, but the person or group will have to provide written justification for the ComArtSci Technology Office.

While we expect that the majority of requests will come at the beginning of the fiscal year, requests will be reviewed throughout the year to handle unforeseen changes in job duties, etc.

Computer Failure

Failure replacement will be applied to certain equipment which must be replaced outside the annual cycle. This applies only to:


Computers are the property of the college and are provided as tools to support the college’s mission. A computer being replaced will be evaluated to determine if it is obsolete or if it is useful for repurposing.

  1. Upon the installation of a new computer, the old computer, if it is to be repurposed, will normally return to the department that purchased it, awaiting redistribution.
  2. If an additional PC is needed within a department, the department should first look to acquire a unit from stock, of the same vintage as the rest of the department's equipment. The goal is to keep the entire department/facility on its initial replacement schedule and all users on the same software versions.


E-waste should be disposed of when it has come to the end of its useful life cycle for the users and/or college. The ComArtSci Technology Office will dispose of e-waste by utilizing recycling and surplus services offered by the MSU surplus store, so as to have the least impact on the environment.

  1. Data from retired technology will be destroyed in accordance with University standards before being recycled.
  2. Should the College determine that data retention is necessary for a retired asset, the ComArtSci Technology Office will store a copy of the data for a period of 6 months, unless otherwise specified.


In order to minimize the Total Cost of Ownership, if a machine can be upgraded with additional memory or components, rather than replaced, the user or department may request a system(s) upgrade(s) rather than replacement.

Personal Responsibility

As a guiding principle for all users, it is necessary to recognize that all computers and peripherals belong to the College, not to the users, and therefore should be treated accordingly. Individuals are responsible neither to cause damage nor to harm College equipment; however, general wear and tear or exceptional circumstances (such as blackouts, power surges, etc.) are not the user’s responsibility. All technology must be used in accordance with the University’s Acceptable Use Policy

Policy Update

The usefulness of this policy will be evaluated on a regular basis. The policy will be updated to incorporate the strategic goals and objectives of the college, as well as the policy’s effectiveness.

For questions about these Policies, Procedures, Plans and Standards, contact the ComArtSci Technology Director.