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When The Saying “If It’s Not Broken, Don’t Fix It” Is a Bad Idea

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The “Weekly Rant” column was featured in the PC Mechanic Newsletter since 2005. Topics relate to some aspect of technology, which include opinions on hardware, software, new technology, technology companies, and computing standards.

A majority of the time, I find myself using the phrase “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” in terms of technology.  Technology can be quite complex, and can sometimes take considerable effort to get operating correctly, so it stands to reason that messing with various settings after the fact may be frowned upon.  However, there does come a point where “letting it be” soon becomes a hindrance to other changes in technology.

This past week’s change in DST caused some trouble with legacy systems (since I’m sure the programmers never expected their software to be used for very long and never expected changes in DST).  Many of those legacy systems were systems that had not been touched or upgraded in years.  In the opening paragraph of this week’s Editor’s Perspective, I mentioned an organization running an Exchange 5.5 mail server.  Exchange 5.0 debuted in 1996, with the 5.5 update following in 1997.  So essentially, this organization is using 10 year old software.  The problem is that it’s not compatible with various newer systems, and like it was proven this week, there wasn’t an easy solution for finding a fix for DST with Exchange 5.5.

It’s times like this where the IT managers need to make a decision to retire a rapidly aging system–especially in a high-traffic environment.  The world had moved on and changed and left this poor server behind, and sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and make the move to modernize your computer systems in order to keep up with the new demands and changes being made.

(Originally published in the newsletter)