An increasingly common question is how long to stick with an aging computer? Frequently it becomes a question of continuing to use an older computer that “sort of” meets your needs, or upgrading to a new computer with its many potential benefits. Having the budget to buy a new computer is a key starting point. Transferring documents, data, programs, favorites/bookmarks and settings are other considerations for a computer migration. As part of the keep it or replace it question this post will examine Ten Downsides of an aging computer system. Also be sure to see my tech tip on Why a Five Year Old Computer Is Slower Than a New Computer,
- Too Slow — The current computer is too slow, especially with several programs open at the same time. Everything takes longer and you sometimes don’t do certain tasks, including maintenance, because they just take too long.
- Too Unreliable — There are too many quirky or weird behaviors that sap your productivity or enjoyment when using the computer.
- Too Long — The computer takes longer and longer to boot up and to shut down.
- Too Little RAM — The computer does not have enough RAM (memory) and it makes the system run significantly slower than it would with a greater amount of RAM installed.
- Upgrading Components Won’t Help – There are various component upgrades that can be done such as adding RAM, upgrading to a faster graphics adapter, or upgrading to a faster network adapter, but the CPU and bus speed will still be the same – Slow.
- Repairs May Be A Bad Investment – It may be necessary to repair a component (CD-ROM drive, graphics card, hard disk drive, or network adapter), but is it worthwhile to pour money for components and labor into an aging computer that may crash completely in six months?
- Software Confusion – There is uncertainty about all the programs and processes that are loading every time the computer boots up. Which ones are necessary, which ones just bog the system down and which ones are safe to deactivate or turn off?
- More Software Confusion – Over the years you have installed numerous programs, utilities, add-ons, plug-ins, and widgets. This creates lots of software clutter and more uncertainty about what can be uninstalled cleanly.
- Version Confusion — Not sure what programs, drivers, upgrades, add-ins, plug-ins or widgets are up to date or if they can all work together without causing strange behavior or intermittent problems.
- Tune Up Needed — The computer hasn’t been tuned up or cleaned up effectively in years. For desktop computers in particular this can lead to accumulations of dust, cobwebs or possibly pet hair in the vents, filters or interior of the computer.
Aging Computer – Ten Downsides Versus A Budget
There are always good reasons for sticking with the computer you currently own and use. And if you don’t have a budget for a new computer then replacement becomes a non-issue. However, sometimes the decision to replace a computer becomes more urgent when a serious problem with an aging computer doesn’t leave much choice but to replace it. In the meantime be sure to keep your computer tuned up and your data backed up because there are a whole set of Murphy’s Laws that apply to computers.