Well, heavens ta Betsy! There are software and hardware updates exploding from every pore of the hairless cat of technology and you’ve just now realized your software and hardware are about 5 years old. Time does fly.

However, I’m bettin’ a bag of chips that several of you out there, or your savvy IT groups, have an upgrade plan in place to capture the bliss of new software releases and shiny hardware pieces. How do you handle the waves of technology? Do you even have a plan? What works for you?

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The Ideal Plan

So what would the ideal plan be? For my needs and making sure a small company doesn’t hemorrhage a the site of software cost, I often recommend a two or three year cycle. Depending on the software you use, your needs and your pocketbook it’s going to differ, but there are a few constants everyone can hone in on. Here are a few to consider:

When do new software releases occur?
When are new OS coming out?
When are new GPU’s coming out?

Generally, I’ll either look at upgrades at the end of the year to roll into year-end expenses or during the summer after fall releases have had a chance to simmer in there juices for a bit. I try to do hardware and software at the same time. It’s just easier to manage with set-up, install and configuring new settings.

What’s New Now?

To totally date this article of its relevancy 5 years from now, lets talk what’s new out there right now. Just this week two big things happened – SolidWorks released SolidWorks 2010 and Microsoft release their new OS, Windows 7. Now, some people have been running these together through Beta already with great result. So much so, I’m convinced it’s a good move to do the two together. They’re fresh though, so when do you upgrade? For me personally, and for the company I work for, I’m looking at year end 2010. I’m also watching for hardware deals, issues people bring up in forums and if cheaper components (GPU, hardrives, mouse, keyboards) should be installed now to upgrade to newer tech that may be coming out in a few months.

Upgrading and Clean Installs

One aspect of hardware and software upgrades is keeping existing systems clean and upgrading existing systems. For SolidWorks, a lot of administrators suggest performing clean installs. Jeff Mirisola wrote about how that can help SolidWorks crashes and slow downs. He lays out a good plan. Here are some key points.

  • Create a Backup of your SolidWorks settings before uninstall
  • Do a search on your harddrive for SolidWorks to find any folders and delete them
  • Use CCleaner (freeware) to keep your hard-drive optimized
  • Reboot before installing new software

So, what has worked for you?

Image Via CarbonNYC (Flickr)


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.