Laptops are a rising force in computing. Growth in notebook sales is astronomic, and portable computers have changed the way business operates to the point that we literally cannot imagine a work life without them. But IT professionals, whether they're dealing with accident-prone users or keeping the network secure, consistently say that laptops are nothing short of a nightmare.

Damaged. Lost. Stolen. Too big, too small. Insecure and unreliable. And just plain annoying. If you're in IT, there's just not much to like about laptops.

Some members of the IT crowd swerve the issue by outsourcing support altogether; others by rigidly adhering to standards and trying not to personally take the hate mail they receive from disgruntled sales reps, irritated secretaries and rowdy marketeers.

Either way, IT executives have a lot to say on the subject of laptops, and nearly none of it is good.

And that's ironic, or maybe just tough luck, because sales of laptops in the business sector are growing 20 percent a quarter, while sales of desktop computers are declining sharply, according to IDC.

By this time next year, IDC says, shipments of business laptops will have surpassed that of desktops, and the gap will continue to widen. This year in the US alone, laptop sales are expected to hit 31.7 million units.

IT departments have to support those 31.7 million machines, quickly and efficiently, whether the units are ensconced at a Starbucks or being dragged around remotest Africa, or even when the machine is run over by a train and sliced in half. (Trust me, it happens.)

But we didn't say IT had to like it.

Over the next few pages we present, in no particular order, the top 10 things IT professionals absolutely hate about laptops. (And yes, we did have to edit down a very long list.)