Computer Replacement Recommendations

Guidelines for computer replacement cycles.

In general, it is recommended that computers should be replaced on a four to six-year replacement cycle. Computer warranties expire after four years and after six years there is a greater risk that the computer will be unable to run a supported operating system and receive security updates.  In addition, the chances of hardware failure increase at this time to the point where repair is cost prohibitive. All campus-owned machines must be in compliance with all UW procurement and security policies.

There are cases when an individual computer will need to be refreshed sooner. It is also the case that some computers will continue to perform well past four years.  It will be up to each department/college to determine the replacement cycle and fund.  

Departments that do not reserve funding for the replacement of technology on a regular cycle might defer upgrades, resulting in outdated technology.  At the age when a computer will no longer effectively run the most-recent software and security updates, LIT and other IT professionals across campus will cease support for the computer on the network. Compliance with security policies is required for all equipment; therefore all computers and technology must be installed with current operating systems and updated patching. Departments can work with their IT Consultant to identify computer replacements and computer life cycles as well as to answer questions about software. LIT and other IT professionals will work with departments to help identify a suitable replacement as computers near the end of their life cycle.


  • LIT reserves the right to remove computers from the network.  
  • Hardware is not supported outside of the computer warranty.
  • Exceptions can be made by LIT 
  • Exceptions will most often be in lab areas with specialty equipment and software not available for upgrade.

Continued Guidelines

  • Departments will continue to be charged a re-setup fee if machines are handed down to another use/work area and re-purposed. This is commonly referred to as a “cascade fee” on our campus.
  • Departments continue to be responsible for inventory of all technology in accordance with AP038. 
  • Computers no longer in use should be promptly recycled by the UW-Stout surplus store.
  • Departments are encouraged to acquire the recommended computer configuration available via the UW-Stout procurement website, which may include a docking station, auxiliary monitor, and keyboard. Deans are authorized to make exceptions for faculty and instructional staff for whom a standard configuration is not appropriate. These exceptions will be monitored at the university level.
  • One computer per employee is recommended. Employees will not be authorized to have a university computer at home or a second university computer at work.
  • Department who want to transfer a computer to a different department will need to work through LIT.  See KB Article:  [Link for document 55001 is unavailable at this time] 
  • Administrative Procedure 035 Computer Cost Share was eliminated as of July 1, 2018

Keywordscomputer, laptops, replacement, purchase, procurement, lifespan, warranty   Doc ID98211
OwnerPeggy K.GroupUW Stout
Created2020-02-24 14:35:29Updated2024-01-29 11:49:23
SitesUW Stout
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