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Question Is it ok to install games on my work laptop ?

October 3rd, 2012, 12:30
Hello all. I started work last month and I was given a laptop to work on. I have to travel a lot for work and so I have to bring my work laptop along with me. Bringing my personal laptop and my work laptop along would be a pain and heavy, so I wouldn't do that.

I've got mixed responses from people at work about what I can and cannot do and it seems there is no official policy except for: It can't be illegal, porn or otherwise inappropriate material (such as going to racist websites).

However, it still is my work laptop and the IT guy said that I should normally keep it work related as if there is any problem with the laptop, the first thing he would do would be to delete any personal programs, not needed for work to see if that fixes the problem. :O

Some people have said, I can basically do what I want as long as I don't exaggerate. While others have said to keep it work related again.

So, what do you think ?
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October 3rd, 2012, 12:40
I'd say make a separate user "private" and install private programs such as games on that user account only.
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October 3rd, 2012, 13:27
Have you asked your HR department if there is a policy that would get you into trouble? The obvious no no's for sure. It is not your pc, but putting one or two games on to play during travel should not be an issue. As IT said, just know that would be the first thing deleted.

Bart and Corwin should just admit that when it gets down to it, I will have the final say.
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October 3rd, 2012, 13:31
You're lucky - we're not allowed to install anything on our laptops, games or otherwise. My employer has a very strict IT policy.
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October 3rd, 2012, 13:47
Same here, only authorized software can be installed. It makes sense, we have more than 15000 pc's at work, and it would be chaotic if everyone could install private stuff.

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October 3rd, 2012, 14:30
I work as support so I have admin rights on my laptop from work and noone would ask questions if I installed games on it (I do install stuff when I need something, for example PDF2DOC converter that is faster from online version as you don't have to upload/download something), but I never installed games on it really.

What I did when travelling was playing online browser games. There are a plenty of interesting ones out there and not every browser game is a mindless grinder made in flash.
One thing - I'm not on facebook and will never register there or another spysite. Means, you can play browser games without facebooking, tweeting, buzzing, googleplusing etc. And no installation needed. That should work also for cases where IT policy is very strict.
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October 3rd, 2012, 14:38
Small games like Minesweeper should be no problem, I think. Bigger games … *shrugs* When in doubt, talk to your admin, I think.

Especially when Minesweeper comes with the OS, instead when the admin forbids it.

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October 3rd, 2012, 16:10
You could compromise and buy a usb hard drive. Load an OS on it and install everything on that. Instead of carrying an 8 pound extra laptop, you have an 8 ounce hard drive. Just set your work laptop to multiboot at startup.

My workplace uses big brother software, so even that wouldn't fly here. We have a little over 55,000 computers in the company, so extra software just doesn't compute
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October 3rd, 2012, 16:35
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
You could compromise and buy a usb hard drive. Load an OS on it and install everything on that. Instead of carrying an 8 pound extra laptop, you have an 8 ounce hard drive. Just set your work laptop to multiboot at startup.
Back in the old days, we used to run that ploy using virtual drives which could be quickly deleted. I'd recommend Nut's solution.

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October 3rd, 2012, 17:42
Originally Posted by Cm View Post
Have you asked your HR department if there is a policy that would get you into trouble? The obvious no no's for sure. It is not your pc, but putting one or two games on to play during travel should not be an issue. As IT said, just know that would be the first thing deleted.
most HR's I know don't know their..something from their something (I forget the metaphor but I know its bad). they would likely say no to anything just to be safe or, more likely, refer you to your IT manager.

If there is no strict policy on it then take advantage of it, so long as it isn't illegal etc. Just be careful what you install: you don't want to be the guy that ruins it for everyone. Let someone else do that.

Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
You could compromise and buy a usb hard drive. Load an OS on it and install everything on that. Instead of carrying an 8 pound extra laptop, you have an 8 ounce hard drive. Just set your work laptop to multiboot at startup.

My workplace uses big brother software, so even that wouldn't fly here. We have a little over 55,000 computers in the company, so extra software just doesn't compute
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October 3rd, 2012, 18:06
I always travel with my personal USB stick. There's stuff like Blake Stone, Heretic et.al. on it - elderly stuff you can play on the stick.

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October 3rd, 2012, 18:13
Alas, companies with loose policies often end up as companies with overly strict policies after Someone Does Something Stupid. We had to all start using full disk encryption after (supposedly) someone lost a laptop without a disk PW with customer data on it. Sigh.
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October 3rd, 2012, 19:34
Our IT policies are rather strict on the security (i.e. full disk encryption) but loose on the content control. It'd say CRPGnut's solution would be the safest. But check your IT policy first. I just go ahead and install games on my work laptop, since there is no policy restricting me not to do so. But, I am VERY careful about any remote possibility of putting malware or any other disruptive software on my laptop. So there is no reason for IT to complain about my installed proggies. If all employees are informed, careful, thoughtful, and responsible this can work fine. It's probably not the norm though. All it takes is one idiotic move to ruin it.
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October 3rd, 2012, 20:54
Asking HR is likely to get you a note on your file about 'asking inappropriate questions' or 'attempting to gain authorization to play games on company time'. These guys don't get it big time, and live in their own little political bubble.

USB OS is the way to go as crpgnut says. Anything you do on the company OS (/HDD) can come back and bite you, regardless of current written policy.
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October 3rd, 2012, 20:56
Our policies are written down formally on a wiki like thing, so no asking required. If your workplace is less formal regarding rules and policies, or they are poorly documented, it could be political quicksand.
Last edited by Thrasher; October 4th, 2012 at 00:54.
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October 3rd, 2012, 23:14
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
Alas, companies with loose policies often end up as companies with overly strict policies after Someone Does Something Stupid. We had to all start using full disk encryption after (supposedly) someone lost a laptop without a disk PW with customer data on it. Sigh.
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October 4th, 2012, 12:37
If you're asking me, then it's ok. But I'm pretty relaxed and I live in a country where such things aren't a big deal in the eyes of the majority of companies. The key is to be a good worker and, for instance, it's not uncommon to see people surfing a bit of porn here and there, where I work - though it's mostly for humorous reasons. Personally, I keep porn private - and not something I would ever do at work.

I would never play games either, but that's because I like to focus on my work (when it's there) - and I take no pleasure in playing games unless I can give it my full attention. But I wouldn't give it a second thought if I felt like playing.

I spend a LOT of my time at work doing non-work related things when it's quiet. No one has a problem with it and I make no effort to hide it, because everyone knows I do my job efficiently when it's required - and that I'm not easily replaced. I suppose that's the kind of thing you have to consider, if you're stepping into the grey areas.
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October 4th, 2012, 19:00
I'm moving to Denmark.
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October 4th, 2012, 19:23
I wouldn't risk it personally. When I had a work laptop and did a lot of traveling, I brought my personal laptop to play games on too. I know you said that wasn't something you would want to do, but that's how I handled it.
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October 5th, 2012, 10:14
Reading such comments makes me glad that I my job doesn't involve dealing with all that nonesence where I'm able to do work that I like while being unstressed, not pressured and… underpaid. I do believe that enjoying what you spend half (or more) your waking hours doing if preferable to accumulating luxury to help you get relieved of the stress which you could have avoided if you didn't desire that luxury.

That said it seems the only thing you are risking is losing your own data so I don't see why you shouldn't do it. Just keep your own backups.

But if you travel a lot and you need something to give you enough options for entertainment while carrying as little as possible (which is something I can totally understand) then I would suggest to consider buying an iPad. I know some feel it's pure evil garbage but if there's one thing it does better than anything else, this is it.

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