Process - Computer Replacement Program


The computer replacement/retirement program manages the ECU-owned computers assigned to faculty and staff.


1. Introduction

The computer replacement/retirement program provides faculty and non-faculty staff with one (1) primary computer replacement for devices that are five (5) years old or older. The device will utilize centrally-supported systems including computer patching, active directory, encryption, vulnerability scanning and mobile device management where applicable to ensure the University meets its goals related to computer standards, information security and cost management.

2. Scope

As part of our mission and vision, Information Technology and Computing Services (ITCS) recognizes that technology is an integral part of teaching, learning and administration at ECU. It is our intention to provide the appropriate technology for faculty and non-faculty staff through this program. Eligible departments funded for this program include:

  • All central state funds – East (16065) and West (16066)

2.1.1. Auxiliary and Self Support Units

The computer replacement/retirement program excludes funding for non-state funded auxiliaries and self-support units.

2.1.2 New Employees

The hiring department is responsible for purchasing computers for new employees (if they choose to provide a new computer) or providing recycled computers to those employees. ITCS may assist and conduct the purchase for the new employee to get the best pricing for the University. New computers for new employees are not funded by the computer replacement/retirement program. Once the new computer has been provided to the employee by the hiring department; it will subsequently be eligible for replacement within this program.

2.1.3 Part Time, Temporary Faculty, Staff and Students

Part time, temporary faculty, staff and student employees are provided a computer at the expense of the hiring department. It is the hiring department's choice to issue a new computer or a recycled computer. The computer replacement/retirement program does not provide funding to replace computers for these employment types.

3. Standardization

The University currently supports specific makes and models of computers (see Related Articles section on this page). Departments should consider their business continuity plans when determining the selection of device type. These devices are chosen to allow diversity in brand yet provide enough similarity that adequate support is maintained by ITCS. The standardization of devices decreases cost significantly through bulk purchasing discounts, vendor agreements and resource support. University-owned computers eligible under this program may be replaced with newer computers (based on funding availability) on a 5-year (or older) replacement cycle to minimize service costs and improve productivity and security. After an older computer is replaced, the device is retired following the University computer retirement (decommissioning) guidelines (Section 12).

3.1.1 While standard configurations are no cost to the department, any make and model may be specified. All computer replacement orders beyond the standard configuration require department approval and requires that the department subsidize the cost difference.

3.1.2 Non-faculty requests for Apple equipment require a business justification referencing the necessity of an Apple device to perform job functions. A personal preference for Apple equipment is not a justification.

3.1.3 Four standard “no cost to department” computers are specified by ITCS. The device configurations are reviewed by ITCS at least semi-annually. The configuration must be suitable to address the computing needs for office productivity, console application programming and general use. Options include the following:

Standard Devices
  1. PC desktop w/o monitor | 5-year warranty
  2. PC laptop w/ docking station | 5-year warranty
  3. Apple-based desktop w/o monitor | 4-year warranty
  4. Apple-based laptop w/ docking station or dongle | 4-year warranty Departments are responsible for any out-of-warranty repairs (required repairs after warranty expiration). This also includes battery replacement after equipment warranty (noted above) has expired. Faculty who have received grant startup funds for a computer shall be excluded from the computer replacement program (except for scenarios where the grant-funded computer is functioning as or in direct support of specialized scientific equipment or utilized by student (UG|GR) research assistants). The grant-funded computer received shall be labeled as the faculty’s primary device and the computer received from the university computer replacement program will be recorded as a secondary device. At the point the granted-funded (primary) computer’s reaches End of Life, the faculty member will be eligible for a computer replacement via the university computer replacement program.

Non-Standard Devices
  1. iPads and tablets

3.1.5 The university computer replacement/retirement program does not provide or replace non-standard devices.

4. Distribution

4.1.1. The University provides either one (1) laptop OR one (1) desktop as a primary computer to faculty and non-faculty staff where routine computer use is required by the job description.

4.1.2. Primary computers are assigned to University position numbers to aid with facilitation of the computer replacement/retirement program.

4.1.3. Faculty and non-faculty staff who have a computer replaced under this program are required to return the previous primary computer before issuance of the new replacement.

4.1.4. University computers are replaced within the fiscal year they are determined to be end-of-life, provided funding is available.

4.1.5. Faculty and non-faculty staff who have a computer scheduled for replacement are contacted by ITCS at the start of each fiscal year. Device replacement begins fall semester and runs through spring semester.

4.1.6. Faculty and non-faculty staff secondary computers are not eligible for replacement under this program.

5. Special Needs

If additional computers, special peripherals and software are needed, funds are furnished through department or grant funds (as determined by the department). ITCS helps by obtaining quotes from vendors and configuring machines. These computers are not included in the computer replacement/retirement program.

6. Asset Management

All devices received through the computer replacement/retirement program are tracked through the Central Asset Management System. Distributed IT technicians are responsible for data entry of all delivered computers into the asset management system. Required information includes:

  • Make and model
  • Serial number
  • Asset inventory number
  • Purchase date
  • Replacement cycle
  • Position number

Distributed IT technicians must also validate at least annually that all computers are accounted for, either visually or through reporting tools.

  • Primary user (employee machines)
  • Position number (required)
  • Physical location
  • DOD wipe date, where applicable
  • Disposition date, where applicable

The system tracks a device throughout its entire life cycle including initial purchase, current location, current owner, data disposition status and survey status. Departments receiving computers are considered device custodians and are responsible for maintaining an accurate inventory.

As part of each department’s Annual Inventory Assessment, a computer inventory report is provided to ITCS noting any missing equipment. Each department is given ten (10) days to locate the property. If the department is still unable to locate the property after the 10-day period, the department notes the missing property on the Missing Equipment Report and files a police report with the ECU Police Department for investigation. The computer replacement/retirement program does not fund the replacement of missing/lost/stolen equipment.

7. Images & Standard Software

Computer images, at minimum, must comply with the University Student and Employee Computer Use Regulation (REG08.05.04) and include:

  • Anti-virus (required on all devices, regardless of operating system)
  • Patch management
  • Password management (Active Directory)
  • Encryption (Mobile Computing - REG08.05.12)
  • User-specific login credentials
  • "Least privilege" user logins
  • NO DEPLOYMENT of standard “factory” images installed by PC providers (Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.)

ITCS assists with image creation and provides services to ensure adequate protection of our information assets including: Active Directory, password management, patch management, encryption and anti-virus.

8. Software Licensing

Departments are responsible for purchasing, maintaining and ensuring compliance with all software vendors. This includes adherence to the Software and Data Collection Services Acquisition Regulation (REG08.05.11) as well as acquiring all necessary approvals for software use. Several UNC system-wide and University-wide agreements currently provide licenses for essential software. All purchased computers must have appropriate licensing for the installed operating system. Contact ITCS for additional information or visit for available software downloads.

9. Information Security Tools

To protect University information assets, several technologies are available in conjunction with this program. Per University Student and Employee Computer Use Regulation (REG08.05.04), all computers will be equipped with anti-virus protection, meet minimum password standards, be physically secure, maintain security patches and be sufficiently protected for Level 1 and Level 2 data stored on internal memory.

In conjunction with ECU's Information Security Regulation (REG08.05.08), the computer replacement/retirement program requires Microsoft Defender Antivirus, University Central Active Directory services, physical locks, patch management and hard drive encryption wherever practical. Any exceptions must be documented and approved by the Information Security Office.

10. Governance

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) or his/her designate coordinates and oversees the computer replacement/retirement program.

The computer replacement/retirement program is reviewed with campus constituents through various committees and other governance bodies.

Distributed IT technicians across the University are responsible for ensuring computer replacement/retirement standards and best practices are followed by employees in their respective areas and also report potential security violations.

11. Definitions


11.1 Desktop A personal computer small enough to fit in an individual workspace. Does not have to be capable of storing data.
11.2 Laptop A personal computer that is portable. Does not have to be capable of storing data. Includes touch screen and traditional screen tablets and convertible devices capable of running a desktop operating system (i.e., Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS)
11.3 End of Life A time period that describes the end of a computer’s useful period. For laptops and desktops, this is generally five (5) years past the date of purchase.
11.4 Viable Computer A computer is deemed viable if it can be utilized by another department and can still be effectively supported by IT Desktop Technologies Support.
11.5 Obsolete Computer

Computing hardware is considered obsolete under one or more of the following conditions:

  • It no longer provides a “basic level of service.”
  • It has exceeded its useful life.
  • It can no longer be effectively supported by the IT Desktop Technologies Support technicians.
  • It is no longer supported by the manufacturer.
  • It no longer runs a current operating systems (related to security and/or licensing).

12. Retirement (Decommissioning)

All departments are required to update the Asset Management System whenever a device is taken out of operation. Decommissioning of devices follows standard operating procedures for proper disposal. Computers from the replacement/retirement program are handled by ITCS and all other computers are handled by Materials Management (Surplus) SOP. Department inventories and automated tools are compared to order sheets to ensure computers are decommissioned as quickly as they are purchased.

Computers have a functional life both at the University and in specific business scenarios. The average life cycle of computers at ECU is listed in the Hardware Life Cycle section of this document. In general, computers are replaced (when funding is available) in specific locations when the hardware becomes a barrier to the end-user.

Note, for an employee to receive a computer from the replacement/retirement program, the current primary computer must be returned to the technician setting up the replacement computer. If an employee is unwilling to return the current primary computer, she/he is NOT eligible to receive the new replacement computer.

12.1 All retired ECU-owned (desktop and laptop) computers that fall under the Computer Refresh Program (i.e., replaced/retired) must be returned to ITCS and inventoried in the ITCS inventory system.

12.2 All inventoried computers are retained by ITCS and stored in a physically secure area for ten (10) business days. During this time frame, the former asset owner may contact ITCS to recover any data files missing from the new computer. After ten (10) business days, retained computers are re-imaged by ITCS and stored until either redistributed or resold.

12.3 University-purchased/licensed software is removed from the computer once the computer is wiped and reimaged and returned to the license pool for reuse. The computer is not to be donated or sold with University-purchased/licensed software to comply with current licensing agreements.

12.4 Repurposing

12.4.1 Computers are the property of the University and are provided as tools to support ECU’s mission. Departments interested in pursuing a surplus item should contact the Surplus Property Office. A computer being replaced is evaluated to determine if it is obsolete or if it is useful for re-purposing under the following scenario:

The computer being replaced is running a supported operating system, and the computer is in good condition (or reasonably repairable). ITCS will repurpose the PC (usually by formatting and reimaging the hard drive) and place it back into inventory for reuse.

13. Program Annual Review

The Chief Information Officer or his/her designate will perform an annual review of this policy and will communicate any changes or additions to the appropriate University stakeholders. The replacement/retirement program is updated as necessary to reflect changes in ECU policies, ECU’s academic, administrative or technical environments or applicable laws and regulations.

13.1.1 The program may be augmented, but neither supplanted nor diminished by additional policies and standards.

13.1.2 Any changes to this program will be communicated in writing to stakeholders by the CIO including VC’s, Deans, and Distributed IT staff.



Article ID: 67603
Tue 2/16/21 9:10 AM
Wed 11/15/23 2:37 PM
Service Owner
Service Management

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