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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
Information Technology Services

Computer and Printer Equipment Policy

As of Fall 2010, Information Technology Services has changed its process for meeting the desktop computing needs of faculty and staff.

Replacement of computers will be made on a case-by-case basis as new hardware or specific software is needed. ITS is not currently replacing computer desktop hardware on an automatic or routine basis. In certain cases, a virtual desktop provided through The Stable will provide upgraded capabilities in desktop computing without a need for purchasing new hardware. Limited funds from ITS are available for hardware replacement in cases where a virtual desktop will not meet the needs of faculty and staff.

Several factors influenced changing our desktop replacement process. The constant, continuing growth of desktop replacement has proven to be fiscally challenging; it reached an unmanageable financial amount in 2008. But in addition, the virtual desktop technology, which has rapidly improved in recent years, offers increased accessibility to Windows desktops that can be quickly and centrally updated to meet the University's needs. Virtual desktops provided through The Stable project will provide access to network storage and a wide array of Windows software from any networked location, using a variety of devices, including Macintoshes, PCs, Linux computers and even certain types of mobile phones.

Replacement process

In this new environment where virtual desktops are anticipated to become the standard mode of operation, newly-purchased client hardware will be expected to last for many years. Upgrades in processing speed, memory, storage, etc. will occur within the server infrastructure.

New full-time positions
New hardware will be provided, based on currently recommended specifications, for all new full-time positions created at the University unless the new position's technology needs can be met with a virtual desktop in The Stable.

New part-time positions
Part-time positions will share computers where appropriate. Otherwise, new part-time positions will be provided either a virtual desktop in The Stable or a used physical desktop.

Existing Full-Time and Part-Time Positions - Replacements
When desktop hardware fails to run software needed for job and/or security requirements, ITS Client Services staff will meet with appropriate faculty or staff and evaluate the suitability of providing a virtual desktop through The Stable. If feasible, used hardware may be installed to provide access to the virtual desktop.

ITS will provide equipment for access to virtual desktops, using existing spare desktop computers or new thin client hardware.

New, non-virtual, hardware will be considered under these circumstances:

  • the unique functions of a Macintosh computer are deemed essential for the performance of job duties;
  • the employee requires a change in primary computer from desktop to laptop or vice versa
  • a virtual desktop will not perform adequately to meet the employee's needs (for instance, specialized software will not   run or cannot be licensed on a virtual desktop)

Employees are strongly encouraged contact the Information Desk if they feel their office computer is not meeting their needs.

ITS will spend up to the following amounts for new hardware, when a purchase is determined to be needed:

Thin Client Desktop $400 not including monitor
Recommended Desktop $800 not including monitor
Recommended Laptop $1,200 13"-14" screen
Monitor $250

Recommended Desktop $1,150 all-in-one includes 21" monitor
Recommended Laptop $1,300 13" screen

Extra Cost Items (including, but not limited to):
Larger Monitors (difference)
Additional Monitors
Extra RAM (above 4GB)
Faster CPU
Special Graphics Interface
Higher Capacity Disk Drive (difference)
Additional Disk Drives

Extra cost items will typically be the responsibility of the individual, department, division or school. Be sure to talk with ITS if you have any concerns about funding. ITS will provide some funding for upgrades that are absolutely essential for a position's responsibilities.

Secondary computers
Secondary computers (anything in addition to the employee's primary office computer) are normally purchased for faculty or staff with departmental or grant funds, with ITS guidance. NetBooks (small laptop computers without built-in optical drives) and Apple iPads are low-cost, portable options that will run virtual Windows desktops through The Stable; see ITS for specific recommendations.

ITS will provide a 19-inch standard monitor for full-time faculty and staff and at least a used 17-inch monitor for part-time and work-study computers. A dual-monitor environment can often improve productivity significantly. Departments may pay for additional monitors or request smaller used displays (as available) as additional monitors.

Output Devices
ITS and Copy Services provide access to printing, copying and scanning through multi-purpose BizHub devices for all departments.

NOTE: ITS will fund maintenance for existing single-purpose, networked laser printers (such as Hewlett Packard and Dell laser printers) for the 2010-2011 year, but maintenance for these devices will not normally be provided by ITS in subsequent years, beginning in 2011-2012. ITS will support the network connection and configuration for these devices where a BizHub is not present within the department or a reasonable distance away.

Equipment Concerns
If you have any concerns or questions about technology equipment needs, please contact the Information Desk at or extension 4357.

Retired computers

ITS takes one of two actions with University-owned machines that are retired from service:

  • Computers are turned over to a recycling company that is paid to remove all data and dispose of the computer in a legal and environmentally appropriate manner
  • Computers are turned over to local non-profit groups that meet certain criteria. See criteria and form (Word document) for use by non-profit groups requesting retired University-owned computer. The completed form should be sent to the Information Desk. ITS does not donate or sell retired computers for individual use.