Now that we’re increasingly being forced to work from home (which is both a blessing and a curse), we depend on our technology A LOT to get us through the day. When it starts to fail us, we often wonder, is it time for an upgrade?

Although technology has significantly advanced over the years, we replace and upgrade our devices now more than ever. These days many people replace their laptop after only a couple years of use; however, a well-maintained laptop can last you a lot longer than this. According to Chron Magazine, a laptop can last up to 10 years (although its functionality might be limited at that stage). A laptop will usually perform in its peak within the first few years, but again, this is if it’s well maintained (we’ll explain what this entails later). A desktop computer, on the other hand, can last even longer – up to 15 years, potentially even longer. So, how do you get your computer to last?

A computer (or laptop) is like a car. It’s made up of a bunch of smaller components which all work together to make the entire device run. When one of these components fails, then the overall device is affected. When a laptop or computer fails, one of these components is typically responsible, and so the answer is replacing the culprit. However, for most people, this is easier said than done – after all, how many people out there are computer experts?

If you’re one for discovering how to do things yourself, you might enjoy the challenge of repairing your own computer, in which case, we’ll explain which parts commonly need replacing. On the other hand, if repairing your own computer is something you’re not interested in, then you might like to find someone to repair your computer. This is a good, albeit at times, expensive option. The last options are purchasing a new laptop, used, or refurbished laptop. Ultimately, these are your main options when your computer is showing signs of slowing down. Before you even get to the stage of deciding what you should do, however, it’s important to look at some of the signs that your computer is past its prime.

Signs That Your Computer is Going Downhill and How to Fix them Yourself

Aside from it not turning on again or obvious physical damage, there are things that can hint that your computer might be on its final leg. Look out for the following signs that indicate you need to do something about your current laptop situation.

  • System start-up and load time is slow.

This can be caused by various issues, the most common being insufficient hard drive space. In this case, you maybe need to format, or re-install, or possibly add a solid state drive to increase the performance of your computer. However, if you’ve done all these steps already, then it’s probably best to look at upgrading the computer.

  • You hear unusual noises.

For example, you might hear the fan whirring louder than usual. Built-up dust can lead your computer to overheat. It’s a good idea to use compressed air to blow dust out of the vents at the first sign of this issue. For desktop computer consoles, this might be an indication of the fans not working properly. Changing your fans yourself can be quite cheap (they cost around $10), but it takes some handyman skills.

When it’s not the fans…

“You should also keep an ear out for strange and repeated noises coming from the depths of your laptop, because these can indicate that hardware failure is imminent.” – David Nield, 2017

When parts start to malfunction, they start making weird sounds. Sounds that are more than just whirring indicate something is wrong inside your computer and it might be reaching its final days.

  • If your computer heats up.

We’re talking about “can’t put it on my lap” hot. This could be a result of you having too many programs open and overworking the central processing unit (CPU), or due to failure of the heat-conducting paste between the processor and the heat synch on top of it. In the case of the latter, this is easily fixed for about $10 (the cost of a tube of the paste). If your problem is the CPU, then depending on what model it is, it may be expensive or so old that it’s impossible to find. Again, this issue may be caused by blocking the air vents, in which case – compressed air.

  • Installing new software is difficult or it doesn’t run properly.

This could be a rare software issue. If your laptop is relatively new and covered by product care, you should take it to tech support or call your laptop manufacturer for advice. Also, if you’ve saved all your data, you could restore your computer to factory settings and start fresh. However, if your computer is old, it might not be worth the hassle.

If you’ve noticed this issue soon after installing a program, something dodgy might have been embedded into it. If you believe your computer has a virus it’s important to follow these vital steps, as described by Kaspersky. You don’t have to download Kaspersky specifically; there are many competitive brands of internet security out there. You’ll be able to find one that suits your budget and needs. Just ensure that your computer does have one.

On the topic of out of date security, your data could also be at risk if your computer doesn’t have air-tight security in place. This doesn’t just mean installing internet security and assuming that will hold. To learn more about maximising your computer’s security, read our tips in this past article. Evidently, it’s not just humanity right now that’s concerned with viruses – your computer too is at risk.

  • Experiencing dead pixels, periods of black screen, shutdowns, lagging or white flickers on display.

Experiencing any of the above can interrupt your workflow as it affects how you interact with certain web pages. Of course, it also induces a lot of stress. A crash is never fun, especially if you’re doing important work, assignments, or are in the middle of a document. So, what does this issue indicate?

Bad drivers – they’re not just on the roads, but they’re on our computers too. And they can lead to a lot of chaos, particularly the infamous blue screen of death (BSOD). Corrupt, faulty, or outdated drivers affect the performance of our computers, leading to a number of system errors. While there are online fixes you can find for this issue, it’s recommended that you go to an expert, unless you know what you’re doing. This can be a simple and affordable fix with an IT expert, if your computer is relatively new. Otherwise, it might be worth getting an upgrade.

What are Your Options When Your Computer Finally Kicks the Bucket?

As mentioned, you’ve essentially got three options for when your computer is showing signs of slowing down. Below we break down some of the pros and cons of each decision.

 

Buying New

Buying Refurbished

  • Minimal effort
  • Most expensive option
  • Your new device is likely to work well 
  • Much cheaper than buying new
  • Device comes under warranty – has been tested and proven to work
  • Device will still be relatively new

DIY Repairs 

Repaired by IT Expert 

  • May be cheaper than buying refurbished
  • Most effort required by you
  • Sometimes tech knowledge is necessary 
  • If issues persist, you may have to buy a new device.
  • Can be costly 
  • You are without your device for some time
  • If issues persist, you may have to buy a new device.

Easy DIY Computer Maintenance: Make Your Computer Last Longer with These tips!

To maximise your computer’s lifespan, we recommend using the following maintenance tips.

  • Regularly run malware scans to check for programs that may be running in the background. This can check to see if a virus is present and remove it.
  • Regularly check error messages. These can signal major issues in your device, from hardware failures to a virus. If you’re not sure about an error message, pop it into google to find an explanation.
  • Check your browser extensions for any unfamiliar applications. Uninstall any add-ons you find suspicious.
  • Back-up your data as soon as things start to go wrong. Back up to either an external hard drive or to the cloud. Either way, learn to save any important files to an online cloud-based drive.

In some cases, it’s easy enough to resolve issues yourself. That being said, sometimes it is best to leave it up to the professionals, especially if you are worried you’ll make the situation worse.

In summary, the right time to replace your laptop will vary from person to person, computer to computer. Ultimately, it also depends on what you need and want. Some people may just enjoy the ownership of a shiny new laptop every year, whilst others may only need something capable of simple functions. Further, for those on a tight budget, the thought of computer replacement might be daunting, and the signs of a computer dying might bring terror. In this case, we encourage buying refurbished.

If you’re considering upgrading your device to a refurbished model, The Computer Market can help answer any questions you may have about the refurbishment process. Alternatively, you can read about it in one of our latest blogs. To learn more about buying refurbished, get in contact with The Computer Market today.

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