An office computer has stopped working. It’s not necessarily a daily occurrence, but it happens every now and then. As someone from the IT department comes over, he finds a tall, rather skinny man, standing up next to his cubicle, his faced flushed. He’s nervously cracking his knuckles, starting at the floor and looks like he really wants to confess to something. As the IT engineer opens the computer case, he doesn’t see the system he was expecting.
It’s not a standard hardware configuration for office computers that runs throughout the company. What he sees is a jumble of wires, leading from the power supply to all kind of components that should not be installed on that desktop machine. He looks back up to the man with the flushed face and shakes his head in disapproval.
It’s a textbook case of “hardware male-function”
– I’m used to working on a far more powerful computer.
– The system I have at home does the same task in half the time!
– I had some old parts lying around that were still better than what there was inside the office computer.
Regardless of their motivations, some employees end up making unsanctioned hardware modifications to their work computers. These modifications usually tend to go unnoticed when they are minor things, like the addition of another hard disk, or a dedicated sound card (instead of the default, on-board one,) but things can quickly spiral out of control. Some end up replacing more vital hardware components like graphic cards or memory modules, and even overclocking the current components. This can easily transform the system in to an unstable and unreliable one.
This kind of “upgrade” is performed by IT enthusiasts, not by professionals. As such, there is a high chance that they do not fully understand the consequences of their actions and that the risks greatly outweigh the benefits.