Computer Refresh High-Level Process

Parent Policy: Technology Acquisition Lifecycle Management

Associated High-Level Process: Computer Retirement


1.0 Scope and Purpose

2.0 Process and Procedure

2.1 Refresh

2.2 Tablet Computers

2.3 Exception Procedure

2.4 Grant and Special Account Purchases

3.0 Applicable Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills

4.0 Measurement and Metrics

5.0 Continual Improvement

6.0 Resources

1.0 Scope and Purpose

This high-level process supports the implementation of the Technology Acquisition Lifecycle Management Policy. The policy applies to all University (USF) information technology assets, resources, services, and Users in all locations. Computers purchased through the University (USF) Computer Refresh (CR) Program are replaced with new models on a regular cadence: desktops are replaced every 4 years, laptops every 3.

The CR program has a central budget providing all full-time Faculty and Staff with either: 1 laptop and mouse, or 1 desktop, keyboard, mouse and 1 monitor. Equipment may also be requested for contractors/affiliates.  Tablet computers must be funded by each Department and procured centrally via ITS to maximize purchasing power.  After replacement or retirement, the PC or tablet is retired following the Computer Retirement Process. (See the glossary (in the knowledge base) for the definition of terms used in this document).

2.0 Process and Procedure

2.1 Refresh

  1. Each Division, School, and College must have a designated CR Program Coordinator, Technical Liaison, and Budget Approver. Divisions, Schools and Colleges may choose to have a local Technical Liaison approved by the VP-CIO, or have this service provided by ITS. Coordinators, Budget Approvers and Technical Liaisons must also be approved by the Division/School/College VP or Dean. 
    ITS follows an internal SOP to seek the names of, and approve, the Technical Liaisons, and record them in a list.
  2. All computers due for refresh during the CR Program year must be scheduled for refresh between February 1st and November 30th.

    a. All USF Faculty and Staff members who have a centrally funded computer scheduled for replacement are contacted by their respective CR Program Coordinator prior to February of the replacement year.

    ITS follows an internal SOP to provide the CR Program Coordinator with a list of the upcoming replacements for the year. This is pulled from the asset inventory.

    b. The Faculty or Staff member contacts ITS to schedule the refresh (i.e., the date they will receive a newer replacement computer).  

    ITS follows an internal SOP to inform the user how to contact ITS and be informed on the scheduled computer replacement date. 

    c. All Users must first validate their possession of eligible computers and confirm what type of standard or premier replacement will meet their needs. See list of ITS approved hardware standards.

    ITS follows an internal SOP to provide the CR Program Coordinator with a list of the upcoming hardware replacements for the year,  and the latest ITS-approved hardware on offer. The list is taken from the asset inventory. Each User confirms the registered  PC is in their possession. If not ITS will work with User to find and identify where the PC is. This may trigger a lost/missing asset report.

    d. Users may purchase non-standard equipment subject to approval by their unit's Technical Liaison and Budget Approver, and the ITS Director of Client Support Services. (See section 3 below). See article on acquiring non-standard equipment.

    ITS follows an internal SOP to provide non-standard hardware to a User subject to an approval process.
  3. All University computers purchased through the CR Program must be collected on the day that the replacement computer is installed.

    a. Displays (monitors) are not part of the regular replacement cycle and will only be replaced upon failure, or through exception requests. Displays purchased separately from the computer must be replaced by the user's department.

    b. During the first 10 days after the computer's replacement, the User can contact ITS to recover any missing data files from their old computer. 
    See How Do I? on how a user should contact ITS to get their files back.

    ITS follows an internal SOP for how a user should contact ITS to retrieve their files, and the procedure ITS follow to tag and securely store the PC,  and recover any requested files. This includes guidance to ITS PC Admins on the recovery of files containing highly confidential data, e.g. PII or encrypted files.
  4. Computer systems ordered by the CR Program Coordinator cannot be changed or exchanged for a different refresh computer.
  5. Computer replacements requested prior to their scheduled replacement year must be submitted as an exception request.  This also applies to special account and grant-funded PCs. See Exception Procedure below.
  6. Previously approved exception computers will have to go through the exception process when due to be replaced to validate that the new standard computers, with additional processing capability, memory, and improved graphics, do not address the original cause for the exception.  See Exception Procedure below.
  7. Exception requests that result in purchase cost that exceeds the regular standard replacement will incur budget sharing with the local department. For approved exception requests, the local department will be asked to share the difference between a standard unit and the exception unit requested. See Exception Procedure below.
  8. Current deployed Faculty/Staff secondary computers are not eligible for replacement.

2.2 Tablet Computers

  1. Tablets from the preferred vendors  Apple and Lenovo must be funded from departmental budgets, or be special account or grant funded, and must be centrally purchased via ITS. The purchase of non-preferred vendor tablets must follow the hardware exception process. (see 2.3. 3 below) and have departmental budget approval.
  2. If a tablet is acquired independent of ITS, after receiving the tablet, the employee is required to register the device with ITS for asset tagging and to enable network access. The employee must inform ITS when the tablet is transferred to a new user or retired in which case it must be returned to ITS.
    See How Do I? return the tablet or let ITS know it has a new user.
    ITS follows an internal SOP on how a user should contact ITS to return a tablet or inform ITS of its new user. ITS will update the asset inventory.

2.3 Exception Procedure

  1. Units shall follow the exception request procedure in cases where:

    a. Additional (second or more) PCs and monitors are requested, e.g. to support for research, systems testing across multiple computers, etc. See the Multiple Computer Request Form.

    b. New PCs are requested outside of the CR program and are not funded through a University Spending Request (as defined by the Budget & Planning office).

    c. Faculty and Staff who assess that the standard PC offering will place essential research or teaching work at risk may apply for an exception to run old and new systems in parallel for up to one month. 
    See How Do I? request a month-long extension.  Exception requests must include a rationale that addresses the following questions:

    i. What research or teaching activity will be placed at risk by the computer replacement?

    ii. What applications or services must be tested for compatibility with the new computer?

    iii. What aspects of the new computer (hardware specifications, operating system, etc.) are cause for particular concern?

  2. Departments who require use of a tablet computer must obtain local department budget approval prior to requesting the purchase through ITS for approved models from Apple and Lenovo. Other manufacturer's tablets may be purchased via a P-Card or other means after obtaining local department budget approval. All tablets must be inventoried and asset tagged.
    ITS follows an internal SOP on how an employee can purchase a tablet computer.
  3. Due to the limitations of the replacement budget, new use requests should not exceed 10 computers or $10,000. New use requests may be fulfilled through the redeployment of used equipment from inventory. New use requests for more than 10 computers or $10,000 require the approval of the VP-CIO.
    See How Do I? requests for multiple PCs, with requirements and justification.
  4. Exception requests should be submitted early to allow for maximum processing time. All requests must be submitted to the Director of Client Support Services (email:
    ITS follows an internal SOP on how a user should submit an exception request to ITS.

2.4 Grant and Special Account Purchases

  1. Examples of grants and other special account purchases include those made by the ASUSF, the Jesuit Community, St. Ignatius Church, and the Fromm Institute.

    a. Computer equipment purchased with grant funds needs to conform to CR policy. This includes and is not limited to asset tagging to be identified as university assets.

    b. Grant funded assets will not be replaced by the regular CR Program. Use the Exception Request to replace grant-funded computers. Computer and monitor equipment will be charged to the appropriate special account or grant.

    c. Special account purchasers or owners of grant-funded computers may elect to retire the equipment at the end of or before the replacement cycle. ITS will handle donations of to-be-retired computers, re-purposing if suitable, or assign to the USF PC donation program pool. Equipment that is not in sufficient condition to be donated will be disposed of via ITS's disposal process. See How Do I? on USF's disposal process.

    ITS follows an internal SOP on how to donate and dispose of surplus PCs and tablets.

    d. All computers must be returned to ITS for a deep data wipe of the hard drive, cleaning for security purposes, and to comply with the University's software license agreements before being retired, donated or marked as surplus. If special account purchases select to keep the retired equipment, ITS will wipe the computers and return the computers to the appropriate owner.

    ITS follows an internal SOP on to recover software licenses and update its license inventory system.

    e. The cost of the USF Standard Software Suite for computers purchased under special/grant accounts will be covered by CR account-funded site licenses/volume purchases.

    f. Reasonable equipment repairs will be covered by the ITS parts/repair budget. If the cost of repair is 50% or more of the computer's fair market value, it will not be repaired and the department will have the option of retiring it or replacing it through the grant/special account.

    3.0 Applicable Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills

    For more expanded details, see the Roles & Responsibilities document.

    Role Responsibility Skills/Knowledge

    Computer Refresh (CR) Program Coordinator

    Assist in scheduling of installations and other logistics (such as access to locked offices, or designating/acting as a proxy if the recipient of the new computer cannot be present).

    By end of February determine the number of Users who need to have their PCs replaced in the calendar year.

    Act as coordinator for pick up between ITS and User.

    Know Users and their needs.

    Technical Liaison

    • Membership on the Computing and Communication Subcommittee of ITS
    • Participates in selection of computer replacement standards.
    • Assists clients with matching their needs to available computers in inventory, or appropriate standard models and configurations for new purchases.
    • Reviewing and advising the Budget Approver regarding new use, failure and theft replacements and requests for exceptions to standards.


    Know capabilities of hardware and installed software offerings.

    Understand Users business needs.

    Know the exception process and how to file.

    Unit Budget Approver

    Exercising judgment in assessing and approving computer purchases including:

    • Review and approval of new use, failure, and theft replacement requests in consultation with the Technical Liaison.
    • Review and approval of exceptions to standards in consultation with the Technical Liaison.
    • Review and approve sharing cost to exception requests and working with ITS Finance for budget transferring details.


    Know budget constraints,  the exception process, and finance process.

    Asset Responsible Owner (ARO)

    All University-owned technology PC assets must be assigned to an individual with full-time, permanent employment status with the University. This person is referred to as the asset responsibility owner. See Primary Client.


    Must know how many PCs their Unit needs for both employees and non-employees.

    Primary Client

    A non-employee who uses the PC/USF provided equipment


    Know to return equipment to ARO at end of contract/termination (last work day).



    (may also be an Asset Responsibility Owner)

    Ensure the return of surplus or replaced PCs to ITS.  Ensure any data that needs to be retained is identified and moved to a new accessible location prior to the PC being picked up by ITS. If necessary work with ITS to move data.


    Know how many PCs are needed. Know what data is to be retained from old PC in cases of retirement/off-boarding of personnel.


    Maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) of the data and PC  they access, use and interact with and ensure data is moved to a new location prior to off-boarding or return of PC.


    Know the disposition of the data.

    ITS Technical Staff

    Pick up PC in concert with CR  Program Coordinator.

    Support Supervisor in moving content from PC to new location.

    Wipe surplus/retired PCs prior to disposal/sale.


    Collecting PCs.

    Deploying replacement PCs.

    Inventorying PCs.

    Disk wipe.

    Donating/selling PCs.

    Director of Client Support Services

    Exception request process owner. Approve or deny exception requests.

    Approve or deny special purchases.


    Know the exception process and hardware standards.

    4.0 Measurement and Metrics

    1. Results metrics:

      a. Number of PCs replaced/refreshed every year,

      b. Number of PCs donated,

      c. Number of PCs re-sold,

      d. Number of PCs lost/missing,

      e. Number of PCs requested through exception process,

      f. Number of PCs with additional monitors or multiple computers.

    2. Process metrics:

      a. Number of Users who ask ITS to recover data files between 1 and 10 days after pick-up of old PC,

      b. Number of Users who are not ready for pick up - PC not collected at first pass.

    5.0 Continual Improvement

    ITS will work with the CR Coordinators, Technical Liaisons, and Budget Approvers to improve the process.

    6.0 Resources

    Click to download PDF of High-Level Process

    Security Standards Glossary of Terms

    How Do I?

    Information Classification Scheme

    Security-related Roles and Responsibilities

    Exception Process