I can’t imagine testing without multiple computers at my disposal.  You may want to hold on to your old, out of warranty computers if given the choice.  Five quick reasons:

  • When Computer#1 hits an impediment such as an unrecoverable error, Computer#2 can start testing immediately as Computer#1 reboots.
  • I can use both computers to simulate interesting multi-user tests.  Example: what if two users attempt to acquire locks at roughly the same time.
  • I can kick off timely processes, staggered on 3 separate boxes, so as not to sit idle waiting.
  • Different OS’s, browser versions, frameworks, and other software running in the background can be informally tested to narrow down variables.
  • Computer#1 can support the administrative work of testing (e.g., documenting tests, bugs, emailing), while Computer#2 can stay clean and focus on operating the product under test. 


  1. Joe said...

    Agreed! "2 computers per tester" is the first thing I tell my new company is a must.

  2. Tadas said...

    Can't absolutely agree. I find myself quite comfortable with multiple monitors ant one or two virtual machines running on a pc. Oh, and once in a while, waiting for a machine to reboot is quite good also for my brain to reboot at the same time. Get a coffee. Look through the window. Move your buttocks. Whatever!

  3. Anonymous said...

    Good points!
    Also, they are important if you need to work in VPNs for example, using one machine in the VPN to test while using the other(s) to look up bugs to re-check and alike.

  4. Eric Jacobson said...

    Tadas, perhaps you are not crashing your product enough. Ha ha!

    Seriously, though, thanks for your comment.

  5. Allison said...

    The best combination per tester is:

    2 computers and 2 wide monitors.

    When working with documents or filling in spreadsheet files, a wide monitor is a savior.

  6. V said...

    Totally agree with you. Machines are always cheaper than engineers. Regression, stress, performance and other types of testing could and should be executed and verified automatically at the midnight. Test engineers should have multiple machines (physical and VM) and wide screens. Energy should be spent on more creativity and intelligent things, than switching windows, power on/off VMs , or waiting for testing result.
    By the way, do you think it's a good idea developers should have equivalent benefies? Multiple machines for coding and simple testing, access permission for aotumation/regression test framework (test cases), friendly trigger and retrieve testing? It really does great help to avoid trivial defects which are introduced by last submission.

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