Support Policy for the Hardware Maintenance of Desktop Computers

This policy defines the level of hardware support IT Division staff will provide for JLab-owned desktop and laptop computers.  IT Division hardware support is limited to consumer serviceable computers that are less than 5 years old.  Consumer serviceable computers are designed to be easily taken apart by the consumer with minimal effort and standard tools or no tools at all.  Consumer serviceable parts are those contained within the computer that can be replaced in whole with minimal effort and standard tools (Phillips or flat head screwdriver) or no tools at all.   The IT Division does not support any hardware maintenance of personal equipment.

The scope limitations of consumer serviceable and less than 5 years old have been set to aid in preventing injury to IT Division staff and to avoid allocating time and resources on older systems that need to be replaced.  If a computer is 5 or more years old, and it cannot run an IT Division supported version of the operating system, the computer must be excessed and replaced.

Policy Specifications

End users are not to be taking apart systems on their own.  For computers under warranty, the IT Division Help Desk will coordinate repairs with the computer manufacturer.  For non-consumer serviceable computers, the IT Division Help Desk will coordinate repairs with an authorized service provider.  By having IT Division Help Desk coordinate repairs with the manufacturer or authorized service provider, the appropriate cybersecurity controls will be verified in order to protect laboratory data and computer accounts.  Consumer serviceable computers less than 5 years old may be worked on by IT Division staff, but the scope is limited to consumer serviceable components.  Computers that are 5 or more years old that are in need of repair must be excessed and replaced.  All work is to be performed with the computer de-energized and unplugged from any power source categorized as greater than a class 1 - low hazard in the ES&H chapter 6200 Electrical Safety Program.  

Hardware repairs performed by the IT Help Desk are limited to the replacement of consumer serviceable parts. 

  • Memory and hard drive
  • Fans
  • Installation of peripherals in I/O slots

Any work outside of this scope requires that a hazard analysis be performed.

Obsolete Equipment

As computers age, components begin to fail.  This make it increasingly difficult to find compatible parts for repairs or to perform upgrades. Once they no longer have the ability to run currently supported software, the time and money spent on their maintenance becomes impractical. For this reason, equipment beyond 5 years of age should not be used for any critical function or relied upon to perform acceptably. These machines should be retired and taken out of service.