Device Retirement

Like most large organizations San Diego Unified School District implements computing devices through a structured lifecycle strategy. The Integrated Technology Department develops and oversees this technology lifecycle on behalf of the district as a whole. For personal computing devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, etc.) most experts recommend planning for a lifespan of 3 to 6 years and current SDUSD policy is to support a lifespan of 5 years.

After 5 years the IT department may remove the equipment or administratively disable it to prevent further use. These reasons these actions are necessary fall in to three categories:

Security: Maintaining the security of the SDUSD computing environment is a top priority for the IT department. New security vulnerabilities are discovered every day which require the software and hardware vendors to develop patches that then must be installed on all affected devices. As the products mature those vendors eventually stop releasing patches which leaves the devices vulnerable in perpetuity. At that point the district's only option available to mitigate the threat is to remove the vulnerable equipment from operation.

Support Resources: The longer a computing device is in service the more likely it is to require repair or additional efforts to integrate with other, newer, technology. By limiting the number of older, out of warranty devices still in-service, IT staff can focus efforts on providing the best possible support for the current technology.

Ongoing Infrastructure and Licensing Costs: Whenever a new device type is first introduced in to the district ancillary items such as network infrastructure, server-based management platforms, cloud services, software licenses and even tools for IT staff must be acquired and maintained for the device's support lifetime. If devices are kept past their intended lifespan the district may be required to continue to bear these costs. Ensuring that these older devices have been removed allows the district to eliminate underutilized infrastructure and better manage software license costs.


Q: Why was my computing device disabled?

A: If a device has been administratively disabled it will show one of the following "Retirement Reasons" to describe why it was disabled.

Retirement Reason

Additional Information

Device Refreshed

This device was replaced by an IT Department sponsored refresh. A 30-day grace period is provided to allow for transition to the new equipment.

Please note: Refresh programs operated by the IT department are intended only to replace existing equipment and not to increase the number of devices.

Security Compliance (Win XP)

This device was disabled because it is running an "End-of-Life" Operating System. It is no longer secure to use this device for any purpose.

Security Compliance (Win Vista)

This device was disabled because it is running an "End-of-Life" Operating System. It is no longer secure to use this device for any purpose.

Q: My device was disabled. How do I get rid of it?

A: Please follow the district procedure for excess equipment. Your site's BSS may be able to assist.

Q: Why can't the Operating System be upgraded in order to extend the life of a device?

A: This isn't always technically possible. Even if it is, we must also consider the following:

  • Security vulnerabilities may still exist in the hardware

  • The time to perform the upgrade will likely cost more than the current value of the equipment

  • The hardware may still not have the proper interfaces to connect to other peripherals or the district network

  • The hardware/software combination has not undergone any QA validation by IT

  • It may violate software licensing terms

  • Future infrastructure changes made by IT will not consider this scenario

Q: My site's technician, a parent/volunteer, a student or another helpful hand says they can reinstall the Operating System so we can keep using a disabled computer. Is this true?

A: Doing so often requires passwords, installation disks, licensing information or other resources. The IT department will not provide these resources or support this effort in any form.

Q: Why can't I continue to use a device without IT support?

A: Very quickly the device will no longer conform to modern security standards which puts the district's computing environment at risk. In addition, the device may stop working at any point as IT will no longer be considering any impact to it as future infrastructure changes are made.