Does this sound familiar? You’re homing in on the top score of your favorite online video game and just as you’re about to finish off the final level, the action slows to a creep. You’re a dead duck.
Or how about waiting for that hot holiday shopping deal you were waiting for all year only to experience a freeze-up at point of purchase. No Justin Bieber commemorative tea set for you.
Or maybe you spend the first two hours of your day waiting for your computer to “warm up” and once it does, you’re only able to run one app at a time. A smooth video call is painful if not nigh-on impossible.
Internet problems? Well maybe, but not so fast – the problem might not be with your connection but with the machine sitting in front of you. It could be time to go computer shopping.
Get ready to go computer shopping
Like all things shiny and new, getting a new laptop or desktop is exciting, but let’s face it, it can be a hassle too. Not only does a new computer represent an unplanned expense – even during the periods of the year when such devices tend to go on sale – but getting the new machine set up, switching stuff from one hard drive to another and the other little headaches of changing devices can be a pain.
Moving on to a new machine is just one of those facts of life we all must face, especially if the device is used for work or school. But since devices rarely just implode, how do you know when it’s really time to replace your machine?
6 Signs it’s time for a new computer
Here are a few standard warning signs it’s time to go shopping:
Age – Only true love lasts forever, everything else has a shelf life. Under normal usage, a typical laptop should deliver three to four years of service and five years for desktops according to one source. And while that can vary a bit based on what you use it for and how much you use it during the day, that’s a pretty accurate ballpark. Get outside of that range and you’re likely to run into software compatibility problems as well as any physical hardware breakdowns.
It’s Slow – Speed is probably the most obvious and the most common. If you find you’re spending more time waiting for programs to load than you used to, or the program doesn’t operate up to expectations, you’re probably due for an upgrade. Unexpected shut-offs are a pretty good sign, too.
Battery – Battery life has always been a big selling point for laptops and battery technology has progressed substantially over the years. Having a laptop that doesn’t give a decent amount of time between charges defeats the purpose of the device, so if you’re charging it more often than you used to, time for a new one.
Operating System – Running older versions of operating systems deprive you of newer features and that includes the latest security upgrades. This is very, very bad because it’s an unlocked door to your device for criminals. And even though Internet service providers like Kinetic offer advanced network security, your machine is still presenting a weak point in your defenses.
Major Life Events – As your life changes, you’ll use your computer in different ways. Maybe you finally decided to get your online degree or you started a new job that requires new programs in a remote work environment. Maybe your new gig requires you to travel more and your boat anchor of a laptop is too bulky to travel. Any of these situations, and those like it, can signal an upgrade.
It’s On Sale! – Sometimes the computer gods just smile on you and a sale comes along that you just can’t pass up. That’s OK, especially if you’ve been experiencing any of the problems on this list anyway.
Buying may be better than repairing
To be fair – there are several options for repairing or upgrading computer equipment. But take the time to figure out if it’s worth the investment in parts and labor just to squeeze another year out of a machine – especially a laptop – over buying a new one that does what you want and comes with a warranty. In many cases, it’s not.