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Why the PC Refresh Cycle Is Critical to Your Business

PC refresh cycles are essential to ensuring employees have a productive, secure, and enjoyable work experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Most organizations refresh or upgrade their end user PCs every three to four years.

  • Regular PC refresh cycles help ensure devices can support day-to-day applications and work functions.

  • PC refreshes also ensure that end user devices have the latest security capabilities.

  • Purchasing high-quality devices, like those on Intel vPro®, an Intel® Evo™ Design,1 can help to simplify your next refresh.



In today’s technology-centric workplace, PCs play a vital role. For the modern, hybrid, on-the-go workforce, they’re a means of creative expression, powerful analytical tools, essential communication devices, and much more. When end user PCs can no longer support the dynamic work needs of your employees, your business can suffer from issues including reduced productivity, employee frustration, and security weaknesses that lead to costly data breaches.

To stay current, organizations regularly invest in new PCs for their end user fleet. While technology refreshes tend to follow predictable patterns, certain events can cause shifts in the refresh cycle, accelerating timelines and driving urgency.

For example, Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 10 in October 2025, meaning no new features will be added to the operating system (OS). Microsoft also recommends upgrading to Windows 11 to continue receiving the latest enhancements, including new security protections. However, migrating to Windows 11 requires CPUs with Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 capabilities, which are only available in relatively recent processor offerings, such as 8th Gen or higher Intel® Core™ processor family CPUs. This marks a major difference from standard Windows OS upgrades, which don’t usually involve strict hardware requirements.

Ultimately, what this means for your business is that if your fleet features older devices, the end of Windows 10 support could necessitate a significant PC fleet refresh to enable an upgrade to Windows 11. Continuing to run Windows 10 could introduce new security weaknesses, bugs, and other issues. Migrating to Windows 11 is important to help protect your business and ensure positive computing experiences for your users.

If your fleet features older devices, the end of Windows 10 support could necessitate a significant PC fleet refresh to enable an upgrade to Windows 11.

To help you assess your PC refresh options—whether for upgrading to Windows 11 or for more-routine refresh initiatives—let’s explore some of the advantages of regular PC refreshes, as well as tips for your next purchasing cycle.

You can also learn more about the criticality of PC refreshes by reading the Intel-sponsored Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services white paper, The Strategic Importance of a PC Refresh.

What Is a PC Refresh?

Refreshes are essential to ensuring that business PCs work for employees, not against them. A PC refresh refers to a scheduled update of an organization’s fleet of end user devices. PC refreshes happen on a regular schedule, built in accordance with organizational and technology requirements.

Generally, most organizations refresh significant portions of their fleet every three to four years. The partial, periodic nature of these upgrades is a result of budget realities, balancing the need for more features and performance against available funds.

Benefits and Advantages of PC Refresh Cycles

While it can be tempting to skip scheduled upgrades or invest in the bare-minimum level of hardware for your needs, these approaches come with sizable downsides.

Not investing or underinvesting in your business PCs can significantly hinder your users’ productivity and compromise your organization’s security posture. Additionally, purchasing an underpowered or minimally featured device can drive a need to upgrade sooner than expected.

That said, sticking to a regular PC refresh cycle and ensuring that you’re purchasing the right PCs for your users’ needs brings many benefits to your organization.

Staying Current with Evolving Technology Requirements

As in the example of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 end of service, changes in the technology landscape can necessitate PC upgrades. The same is true for new versions of applications and emerging types of applications. Without sufficient processing power, modern connectivity capabilities, and up-to-date peripheral support, users can be left behind and unable to effectively use the applications they need without experiencing crashes and slowdowns.

Increased Security Against Cyberthreats

Cyberthreats are always evolving, and their attacks can severely impact your business—from costly downtime to lost reputation. Up-to-date PC fleets have the most recent protections against malicious actors.

Reduced Business Downtime

Aging, underpowered, and unreliable devices can lead to prolonged downtime for their users, including total system and application failures. Investing in modern, high-performance hardware and purchasing high-quality devices—like Intel vPro®, an Intel® Evo™ Design laptops—can help prevent employee frustration and lost time.

Better Budget Predictability

Staying current with your investments also ensures you’re within the warranty window for your end user devices. When you rely on dated devices that are outside of warranty agreements, you can introduce dramatic spikes in expenses when the need for repairs or replacements arises. Additionally, current PCs have broader availability for systems and components, which helps control costs and speed issue resolution.

Employee Retention

As The Strategic Importance of a PC Refresh notes,when a company sufficiently invests in great tools, it can gain a reputation as an employer that equips people to do their best work.”

Today’s workforce wants usable, fully featured devices that provide all the essential capabilities they need for work, no matter their working location. Form factor, battery life, size, and peripheral/connectivity capabilities are all critical considerations for ensuring a standout experience for employees. These investments can also help you attract and retain top talent.

Tips: What to Consider for Your Next Refresh

Intel-based devices are designed to offer an ideal user experience for today’s business workers.

To validate Intel vPro® devices, platform architects work closely with our OEM partners to ensure outstanding quality, IT reliability, and compatibility. Our validation processes include processors, graphics, chipsets, and networking components. Intel® Evo™ devices undergo even more rigorous testing that’s specifically geared toward the requirements of on-the-go professionals.2

As you consider your options for your next refresh, Intel vPro®, an Intel® Evo™ Design laptops give you an easy path to getting the devices your organization needs. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind as you plan your next upgrade cycle:

Performance Requirements

Different groups of employees will require different things from their machines. Creative teams dealing with high-resolution video files or complex rendering tasks need more performance, with a focus on graphics. Meanwhile, sales teams or human resources professionals likely need more-modest performance capabilities. Persona mapping, where you identify clear requirements for each category of users, can help you right-size your investments across your organization.

Connectivity and Peripherals

Especially in today’s remote and mobile world, the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities are essential—including Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 6. These allow employees to enjoy rapid online experiences, smooth virtual collaboration, and maximized productivity wherever they are. Having the right options for peripherals is also essential, such as support for multiple monitors and USB-C devices.


In the era of digital business, cybersecurity is a top concern. Be sure to look for devices with multilayered security features, such as those built on the Intel vPro® platform. For example, with unique hardware-based security measures enabled right out of the box, along with protections below the OS and active monitoring for threats and attacks, Intel vPro® devices provide comprehensive, multilayer security to help protect your company resources and data.

Reliability and Remote Management

With workers more on the move and more geographically dispersed than ever, it’s important for IT staff to be able to access devices from anywhere to help troubleshoot and resolve issues quickly. Intel vPro®, an Intel® Evo™ Design devices offer integrated, hardware-based remote management that allows support staff to access the device both inside and outside your firewall, as well as out-of-band capabilities that operate outside of the OS. Additionally, to prevent issues before they start, you should ensure that you’re purchasing high-quality, business-grade devices like those provided by Intel and our hardware partners.

Ready to Start Planning Your Next Refresh?

At Intel, we know that PC refreshes are important and complex initiatives that need to delicately balance technology and workforce requirements with your organization’s available budget. To learn about how Intel manages PC refreshes and how we apply a number of the best practices discussed in this article, see our IT@Intel brief, Optimizing PC Refresh.

As you consider your PC refresh options, remember that Intel vPro®, an Intel® Evo™ Design devices are designed to offer amazing user experiences alongside the manageability and security features that modern businesses need. Upgrading your fleet with these devices is a simple and easy way to plan your next refresh and help ensure you’re meeting end user needs.

Plus, with Intel vPro® Enterprise, you gain access to the Intel® Stable IT Platform Program, an extensive validation program that aims for no hardware changes throughout the buying cycle, for at least 15 months or until the next generational release. Fewer changes mean fewer hassles and interruptions for users, resulting in a more seamless overall experience—especially for PC setup, configuration, and deployment.

Finally, be sure to read the Intel-sponsored white paper, The Strategic Importance of a PC Refresh, to get more insights and best practices for building your PC refresh strategy.


Frequently Asked Questions

Look for aging hardware that is falling behind the requirements dictated by your operating system and those of the applications users need on a day-to-day basis. You should also consider the connectivity and peripheral support capabilities of these devices to make sure they support the latest technologies, such as Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 6.