My Computer is Failing – What Now?

Yes, this is the reason that all computers will eventually lose speed and performance will suffer; they age just like we do.  Your computer is made up of many different pieces of hardware working together, and these components get dirty, corrode and wear out over time.  If your hardware is ageing, you will notice various issues start to occur, with the eventual breakdown of your computer.

 

How Do I Know if My Computer is on its Way Out?

Well, there are a few tell-tale signs that you’ll want to look out for.  Your computer will fail to load programs and applications within a reasonable amount of time and may freeze for unexpected and intermittent periods featuring a spinning icon on your mouse, a grey overtone on your screen, or a complete inability to load anything.  Your computer may make noises it didn’t previously, and one of the main culprits is the fan.  If your computer’s fan is working very hard, it can indicate serious stress on your hardware.  If you start up your computer, and the Operating System won’t load properly, for example if you are stuck on the BIOS screen, you may have already experienced a major failure.  Any or all of these signs may indicate that your poor computer is struggling and may give out completely.

 

You’ll also want to be aware of the actual age of your computer.  This is because the age of your computer may indicate its potential remaining lifespan.  If your computer has a lot of use, you may get only three to four years of good use before you’ll notice symptoms of age and wear and tear.  If your computer is used infrequently, you may get up to seven years of decent use, and if you don’t mind a slower computer, you may be able to stretch out your computer lifespan for up to a maximum of roughly eight years, though we don’t really recommend this.  If you don’t remember what year you purchased your computer, don’t panic, if you go to the taskbar across the bottom of your screen, type into the search bar “System Information”, click on the first result “System Information”, it will bring up a popup box with a System Summary.  On the list, under “Item”, look for “BIOS Version/Date”, then under “Value” next to the BIOS Version/Date, the information presented there should show a date that you can use as an approximate age estimator for your computer.

 

What Can I Do About it?

The only solution in this case is to replace the failing parts or replace the entire computer.  If you are determined to ride out the computer until it completely gives out, it is a good idea to keep regular backups (to a device that isn’t failing) so you don’t lose all of your important data; or keep it all saved on external storage or cloud storage.  If your hard drive fails, you can lose everything that is stored on your computer.

 

Contrary to expectation, it can often be just as expensive, if not even more expensive to replace singular components like a failed motherboard, so if you find yourself in the situation that you have a failing computer part, it may actually be cheaper for you to replace the whole computer.  This also provides you with the benefit of entirely new hardware, instead of one new component and a whole computer full of old parts waiting to give out.

 

What to Look For

It is important to do your homework and ensure that any new computer will meet your budget as well as your business requirements.  Though the temptation is often to set the budget first and requirements afterwards, with computers this is not always the best way to go unless your budget is set in stone.  It is a good idea to set your minimum computing requirements first, then shop around and see what pricing is available, even if it is more than you were hoping to spend.  This is the only way to avoid ending up with a computer that is too slow, or has too little storage, or simply isn’t right for your needs, as this is an important purchase that you may be stuck with for up to ten years before upgrading again!  When setting your minimum requirements, it is also good to keep in mind that this is a longer-term investment, and your computing needs may increase over the next few years, so set them a little higher than what your needs are for right now, otherwise you may need to upgrade again sooner than expected.  If you can wait until end of financial year sales, or shop online instead of instore, you may be able to save a couple of hundred dollars on your new computer.

 

When it comes to setting minimum acceptable hardware requirements, this can get tricky for people to determine for themselves and for their business.  It is often wise to consult with an IT Professional to plan for all of your hardware upgrades, as this can be an expensive thing to get wrong, and a professional will usually have good advice to assist in providing hardware that will support your business effectively and enable your business to reach your longer-term goals.

 

If you are confident in setting your own requirements, you’ll want to look at the specifications of each computer that you’re interested in purchasing, and there are some key specifications you’ll want to look out for, depending on what is important to your business.  Some websites will even let you compare the whole set of specifications between the computers that they have on offer, and this is convenient for finding something right for your business.  One of the most important parts of the computer that will impact performance is the CPU (also called processor).  If you’re unsure if a CPU is good or not, you can compare your selected CPU’s performance to others on the market on CPU Benchmark here http://www.cpubenchmark.net.  This is a free website that allows the comparison of up to three CPUs together showing best value, best price, best performance and other important metrics.  You will also benefit from comparing the specifications of the video card (also called graphics card), the memory, the hard drive and the warranty of any computers you are interested in.

 

Extra Considerations

Additionally, you’ll need to consider what ports and slots you’ll need.  This can make or break your experience with a computer.  Though it is possible to work with many different types of ports if you purchase converter cables, it is preferable to have the right ports to begin with, and you’ll need to check if cables are available to meet your conversion needs prior to making a computer purchase.  For example, if the computer you want to purchase has only a HDMI port and no VGA port, and you only have an older monitor (computer screen) with a VGA cable, you’ll need to purchase a HDMI input to VGA output cable to use the monitor with the computer.  You may want to consider things like the available USB ports, SD Card Slots, HDMI, VGA, audio jack, ethernet port, etc. that you may need for compatibility with your other hardware.

 

 

If you are not feeling completely confident in setting your minimum acceptable hardware requirements and replacing your old hardware, give us a call and we can help you find the hardware that will best meet the needs of your business and support your business growth into the future.  We can help with any budget and requirements.  We can recommend solutions and install your new hardware at your workplace, so please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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