You will make many investments during your lifetime.
Perhaps you buy a house. You likely own a car and will upgrade it someday. If you’re reading this article, then you’ve likely invested in at least one computer.
Like most other investments, your PC will eventually wear down or become obsolete. As that time approaches, you’ll ask the question “Is it time to replace my computer?”
How Do I Know When I Need a New Computer?
Computers, like any electronics, break down over time. Even if a machine physically lasts for many years, there comes a point when the capabilities no longer keep up with newer innovations.
Even if your desktop/laptop is slower or lacks the latest bells and whistles, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and buy a new one. There are several factors you may want to consider before deciding when it is time to get a new PC.
Minimum and Recommended System Requirements
Every application you install should have the minimum requirements in order to install the software. You can check some of your system’s specs by searching (from the taskbar) for This PC. This app will show such things as processor type and RAM.
If the latest software coming out tends to exceed your machine’s specs, then it becomes an easier decision as to whether to replace it. Where things grow a bit murkier is when you can still install the latest software – but its performance seems to be lacking.
Software manufacturers also tend to have another set of criteria they include– the recommended resources needed to actually run their programs.
For example, an application might require at least 4 GB of RAM, 1.2 GHz processor and 20 GB of free hard drive space to install. However, the recommended resources to actually run may look more like 8 GB of RAM, 2.0 GHz processor and 80 GB of free hard drive space.
If you have the former but not the latter, it may be time for an upgrade.
Available Hard Drive Space is Low
Your computer stores a lot of information. The applications that run on it need space for installation, temporary files, and ample room for saving new data.
The operating system still needs room to do its job – including making room for the paging file. This file (pagefile.sys) is used to create what’s called virtual memory. Your computer uses two types – primarily random access memory (RAM) and then virtual memory when resources drain the RAM.
You can clear up space on your hard drive by removing items you no longer need. An easy way of doing so is using the built-in disk cleanup utility. In Windows 10, you can use the taskbar’s search box to find the Disk cleanup app.
This tool will allow you to choose what types of files (temporary internet, download files, etc.) to have the operating system remove.
Computer Speed is Noticeably Slower
As times goes on, it’s not unusual to find that your computer actually seems to be moving more slowly. It can perhaps be attributed to running more resource-intensive applications – or just more things at once.
If you find yourself in a situation where the reason for things slowing down is related to the newer software you’re running, that may be a sure sign that you (and your tasks) are outgrowing your machine.
Still, not all incidents of a sluggish computer can be attributed to just running larger programs or multiple ones that you’re using. You may want to go into Task Manager (use Ctrl+Alt+Del) and verify if there are things running that don’t need to be – and close them down.
From the Task Manager, you can also check performance data and other information.
Newer Features Not Available
One item that has nothing to do with your computer’s performance is the features or abilities that are built-in.
Perhaps you were wanting a touchscreen to make navigating Windows easier – if not switching it to tablet mode. Maybe you need more USB ports or even different types of ports (HDMI, USB-C). It can even be something like a higher resolution monitor or backlit keyboard.
If your computer is a desktop, these features may be easy enough to upgrade without having to buy a whole new machine. If you have a laptop, however, it’s not that easy. In the latter case, you can either live without those things or go shopping for a new one.
Hardware-related Issues Start to Appear
A PC has a lot of moving parts – the software running, the numerous operating system processes, and the many devices connected to it.
At any given time, one or more of those pieces of hardware may start acting up – if not fail altogether. There might be an error, but typically devices behave erratically or not at all.
Common hardware-related issues to watch out for include:
· Wireless network connection
· Printers not printing
· Mouse, touchpad, or keyboard stops working
· No sound
· Poor graphics display
Some of these can be fixed by adjusting the individual hardware’s physical/software settings (where applicable). Also, restarting/resyncing the device or rebooting the computer sometimes helps.
While there are issues that will actually be hardware-related, a more common reason for problems (or failure) with devices involves its drivers.
A device driver is required for the hardware to effectively communicate with the operating system. If these drivers become corrupt or outdated, problems will typically ensue.
You can remove or upgrade a device’s driver by going to the Device Manager (find using the taskbar’s search box). Just right-click the device and choose what action you wish to perform.
Replacing Versus Fixing a Computer
While the focus of this article has been when you may want to get a new PC, there are certainly reasons to weigh replacement versus repair.
There are scenarios where this is nothing wrong with the machine you have. Unless you just enjoy buying new things, you may want to consider first trying to optimize the current PC before making a final decision.
Ways to Free up Space
The disk cleanup tool was already mentioned, but you can also offload items on your computer that you don’t need – or can store somewhere else.
First, consider uninstalling applications you don’t use. You can do this from the Add or Remove programs app (easily found by searching for it on the taskbar).
Next, you can offload photos (or other large files) into the cloud. There are many cloud storage options today – including Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
Increasing the Speed of Your Current Machine
There’s plenty of reasons that your computer has slowed down – some have been mentioned.
Other actions you can do include checking for viruses, restarting the computer regularly (to clear memory), and even adding more memory.
If you’ve no idea of where to start, take advantage of some of Window’s built-in tools – like Resource Monitor and the aforementioned Task Manager. These tools can help give you an idea of where you should set your focus.
Ensure Devices are Running Optimally
Device Drivers were mentioned as a common failure point with computer hardware. You’ll want to ensure these drivers are always up to date. There are a few approaches to maintaining your hardware’s drivers.
Go into the Device Manager, right-click the desired device and choose Upgrade driver. From here, you’ll have two choices.
The first will allow Windows to try and find a better driver. If this doesn’t work, you can choose to browse for one yourself. The second option requires that you’ve visited the manufacturer’s website and downloaded/unzipped the latest driver.
Another solution is to allow software/services, such as Driver Support, to automate the task up updating drivers for you. Not only is this more efficient, but it also frees you from the burden of having to chase down the correct ones.
Keep Device Drivers Updated
Let Driver Support help ensure your devices aren’t suffering from bad drivers. You may decide to keep that PC after all – and find another way to spend that money.
Driver Support has been trusted since 1996 to assist in keeping device drivers up to date. Download Driver Support and register now to learn more.