A personal laptop goes a long way in satisfying your need to get stuff done. Surfing the internet, playing games, writing a paper—all work better on a bigger device rather than your pocket-sized phone. Laptops are generally lightweight and quite mobile.
This flexibility means owning a laptop has become the popular computer choice of most consumers—they've outsold desktop computers every year since 2005. Most are happy with the job they do.
But when your laptop begins to slow down or shows other signs that the end is near, follow these signs indicating that it might be time to purchase new hardware.
Its Lifespan Is Over
“How long will my laptop last?” is usually the number one concern of owners. Laptop computers have a shorter lifespan than desktops, usually three to five years (as long as you take good care of it).
Your laptop relies strenuously on its battery. If the battery gives out or fails, you're limited to only using your laptop by plugging it in, which isn't always practical. Portability is the main reason to own one, after all.
Your battery is probably going bad when:
- You notice you need to recharge more often than you used to.
- Your operating system (OS) tells you with a warning message.
- It starts overheating.
Are you embarrassed to take your laptop out of its bag? Is it more than a half-inch thick? This is a warning sign that your laptop is old. Modern laptops are generally a lot thinner and lighter than previous generations, using strong alloys and plastics in a lightweight construction. Old school nickel-cadmium batteries are heavy, bulky, and aren't able to store all that much power.
Processes Run Slow
Do you have to wait what seems like forever for your laptop to go from sleep mode to ready? Does it run slower when running more than one program at a time? There are many common causes of computer lag or just plain poor performance. These range from outdated drivers to malware infection. You can either purchase a new laptop, update its hardware, or accept working with a slow computer.
If your laptop's fans are spinning loudly, sounds like a jet engine, and your computer is not involved in a demanding task (like gaming or video encoding), consider it a cry for help—your laptop is overheating.
It Has Some Broken Parts
Because we carry laptops around, they're more prone to accidents. A spilt drink, a bump here or a bang there. Or, there's damage due to mishandling the device, such as picking it up by the screen, being rough and breaking some keys, or mangling the cords. Over time, these events not only will make your machine look bad, but will keep it from working.
If your laptop's screen if flickering, regularly crashes, or resets itself, you most likely have multi-tasking issues. This could be caused by insufficient RAM (computer memory). You may be able to upgrade your unit's memory without having to replace your laptop. But if your device simply can't process several jobs at a time, it might be time for a new one.
You Can't Complete Updates
Updates are an integral part of maintaining your machine, especially when it comes to having the latest OS and security updates. Running old software can leave you at risk without support, and makes you prone to a cyber-attacks and other security issues. If any installation remains stuck at the same percentage, or fails to completely install, you might need a new rig.
Repair or upgrade?
If your machine is still under warranty and you're covered for repair and replacement parts, get it done professionally at the manufacture's expense. Plan to DIY? Remember that a laptop is an electrical appliance and tinkering inside anything electrical can be dangerous.
There are instances when you can put off replacing your machine with a few judicious upgrades in order to speed up your laptop and make it last a little longer. Other times, it makes sense to invest in a new model rather than trying to get another year out of your laptop. Knowing when that time is, can be the tricky part. Check here for some answers.
In some cases, it's simply not worth the cost of a repair or replacement part. It may not fully rectify your issues. It may not last as long as you'd like it to. And it may be a case of fixing one thing and breaking another in the process.
Tips to make your laptop last longer
Here are things you can do to ensure you keep your laptop in tip-top shape.
- Open up your laptop and clean it every couple of months.
- Keep food and liquids away—clean any crumbs out of the keyboard.
- Put it away when you're not using it—store your laptop somewhere safe when it's turned off, preferably in a padded case or laptop sleeve.
- Keep cords and wires like charging cables, speaker cords tidy.
- Keep your laptop off a carpet or soft furnishing. These prevent the fan from doing its job properly. Keep it out of direct sunlight too.
- Run regular back-ups of your data.
- Upgrade your laptop where possible (more RAM, or add an SSD).
Resources: BRIGHT SIDE, Lifewire, Vintage IT Services, Computer Hope
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