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Extending the lifespan of laptops in education with Igel

When covid closed classrooms, the Department for Education rapidly architected and funded the Get Help With Technology programme, a hugely successful mechanism to help all learners gain access to online digital learning. To date, over 1.5 million laptops have been distributed to hundreds of education establishments across the UK.

3 year refresh cycle

A significant percentage of these devices were Windows laptops, which are now either nearing, or have passed their 3 year anniversary. As these devices age, many organisations are mindful of the drift between user expectation and user experience, almost exclusively caused by computational resource starvation as the aging hardware struggles to keep up with modern software demands.

At the heart of the challenge, Windows OS continues to evolve, with each new iteration increasing the demands on system resources of the host machine. It’s not that the physical device is any less capable than it was the day it left the factory, it’s simply that the Windows operating system is asking the device to do more than it was designed to do.

Ageing Windows laptops

In the case of the typical remote learner, the added functionality of latest versions of Windows OS is largely irrelevant for actual use case, there’s no real value. The added strain placed on the host machine will, however, dictate a point in time when the existing laptops – funded via the Get Help With Technology programme or otherwise – do not have sufficient computational resource to run the latest version of Windows. At this point, it will be necessary to either replace the laptops with new hardware or consider an alternative operating system that is not so resource intensive.

Being Linux based, Igel OS works differently to Windows OS, and is subsequently more computationally efficient. This makes it possible to run Igel OS on lower specification end point hardware, potentially offering the ability to replace Windows OS with Igel OS to ‘extend’ the life of the end points.

Extending the life and reducing capital expenditure

Extending the life of the physical hardware and avoiding the capital expenditure of a hardware refresh for potentially hundreds of end point has obvious budget benefits – it’s not necessary to buy new laptops so that budget can be put to better use.

Not replacing ageing laptops has a range of significant environmental considerations that many education establishments are using to assist with wider sustainability objectives. The production of a new laptop typically creates around 300Kg of CO2. That means just 10 new laptops create 3 metric tonnes of CO2 during their manufacture, which would require in the region of 130 trees to offset. And that’s just ten!

Igel OS has already been deployed in hundreds of organisations who all have shared objectives – to provide a secure, performant end user experience with a lightweight operating system that’s a credible, cost effective, sustainable alternative to buying a new Windows laptop.


Learn how cloudDNA helped Markerstudy Group save over £1,000,000 in hardware refresh costs with Igel OS – winner of the best Igel customer case study in EMEA award, 2023.


Want to talk about Igel? So do we. We’d love to hear from you, so give us a call on 0330 010 3443 or email