Good Advice for Providing Adequate Computer Resources
The extent of a computer's power should equal or exceed the degree of dependence placed upon computerization to run your consignment business.
Fully 90% of consignment start ups are attempted on shoe-string budgets with inadequate allowance for proper computer equipment or the knowledge and willingness required to protect and properly maintain computers and hardware.
The common misconception seems to be that any old computer should do and if not, well then, the consignment software just isn't 'robust'!
Computer Requirements for Consignment Shops
The Operating System
Still today most software is Windows-based. The 'operating system' is Windows. Apple says that consignment software written for Windows can be run on a Mac with Windows installed along with their Parallels or Basecamp supplemental programs, but largely, software programmed for Windows should be run on a Windows machine.
The most recent Windows systems in order of age (which are compatible with BCSS) are XP, Vista, Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit).
Random Access Memory (RAM) plays an important part in computer performance. Still today we see old XP machines in resale stores with .5MB of RAM, or Vista, Win7/8/10 machines with 1GB of RAM - all used up by the Windows OS - and very little left to run other programs. 32-bit computers can have 4GB of RAM. 62-bit machines can have up to 192GB. Consignment stores should have Win7/8/10 computers with at least 4GB and they should throw out those out-dated XP and Vista boxes.
We often hear, "My computer has plenty of RAM memory!!" Yes but... how much of it is available after Win7/8/10 consumes 1GB and how much is being used by other programs running in the background? To find out, click on Start and in the search box type msconfig (for Microsoft configuration) and click on the Startup tab. Amazed? All of those programs are starting at startup, unnecessarily (expect for virus protection, wireless connections, touchpad, etc.). Right click on the taskbar and click on processes. Amazed again? Sort the Memory column to see which programs are using the most (and which ones might be stopped at startup to avoid memory loss). It might be wise to consult with an IT tech before changing any settings on the computer.
Actually called 'clock rate', this is the speed at which a microprocessor executes instructions and synchronizes components. Faster clock rate of course allows the computer to open programs, populate tables and execute commands like printing with greater speed.
Today's processor speeds are approaching 4GHz. See where your computer processor falls in the hierarchy of power on this chart.
Hard Drive Space
Space on the hard drive usually isn't a concern because even the smallest of available drives today are far larger than needed to run a resale store UNLESS tons of music, videos, games and movies have been downloaded/installed. The computer should be dedicated to business use only. Downloads should definitely be avoided unless they are needed for installing software programs, updates and hardware drivers.
What Does My Computer Have?
View the Operating System, RAM memory and clock speed values by right clicking on Computer (on the desktop) and selecting Properties.
In the next segment we'll take at protection for your business computers.