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Repair or Replace? 7 signs that you need a new computer

After this last year we know that it might be tempting to try to save money and stretch budgets. Especially when it comes to your IT. And one of the areas you may be avoiding is the cost of acquiring new devices.

Now, my team and I are usually the first ones to tell you that good IT doesn’t always mean having the latest devices and equipment. You don’t need to upgrade your laptop each time a newer version is released. A new PC each year won’t make you more productive. That newly released tablet won’t affect the profit your business makes.


Good maintenance and monitoring should have the effect of an anti-ageing cream on your work device. Look after it well and it will do the same for you.

However… sometimes, it just makes good business sense to invest in new PCs or laptops rather than trying to get another year out of them. Knowing when that time is, can be the tricky part.


Older PCs and laptops cost more to maintain. The cost of ownership actually increases as they age – a little like cars. And of course performance decreases over time.

The optimal refresh cycle for your devices is around 3 years.

Of course, you can get more out of your devices, but that can come down to a few factors, including the hardware itself. Regular maintenance is key. Upgrade components and software, and make sure to keep it clear of dust and debris and you could push 5 to 8 years out of a PC.

A laptop is slightly different, because they become less capable of running advanced applications as they age. With good care, you can get between 3 to 5 years out of your laptop.

What you really need to consider is whether, as your device ages, the cost of issue resolution and maintenance outweighs the cost of acquisition.

Often, if a device is more than 3 years old it is actually cheaper to buy a new one.

  • A 5 year old PC could cost twice as much to run as a new one
  • A 4 year old PC suffers 55% more security incidents than in its first 3 years

When you look at it like this, the short term savings disappear. And it can be an expensive mistake to continue to run an older device.

So how do you know when it’s time to bite the bullet and buy new devices?

Here are our top 7 red flags to look out for:                                                                                                                

1 – Start-up and shut down are slow

We’ve all experienced this at some point. You could boil a kettle, make a coffee, and sit down and drink most of it before your PC is ready to go.

It’s frustrating, and wastes a lot of time, during which you could be working.

And when start-up and shut down are slow, it’s likely that loading applications, browsing the internet, and simply saving documents are slow too. It’s a terrible way to kill productivity. And a sign that your computer is on its last legs.

It could also, however, mean that you have too many applications set to run automatically in the background when you fire up your device.

Ask your IT support partner to take a look and see if they can alter the settings. Or whether it’s a case of out with the old and in with the new.

2 – You’ve got multi-tasking issues

Well, not you. Sadly, we can’t suggest much to help with that.

But if your device simply can’t process several jobs at a time, it might be time for a new one.

If you struggle to go back and forth between applications or tabs in a browser, the end is nigh.

Insufficient RAM (computer memory) is usually the culprit. More so when you have more than one application that uses a lot of memory to run.

This can also occur when a PC has had to change jobs. For example, if Sarah used to use it primarily for browsing the internet, but then got promoted and now uses it to create and edit spreadsheets or photos, it may struggle, and she may need a more robust device.

3 – You can’t update your operating software

Please, don’t neglect the basics.

Updates are vital. Especially when it comes to your operating software.

Not only does running old software leave you without support if something goes awry, but it also leaves you more susceptible to a cyber- attack and other security issues. And we all know exactly what a disaster that can be for a business.

4 – You’re unable to update your security

As above: please, don’t neglect the basics.

Fail to update your security and you’re leaving your business open to a data breach.

Even if you can update your standard security on your operating system, are you also able to run the relevant security to protect the applications and software that your teams use to do their jobs?

Your security is something that should be constantly evolving and updating. That’s because cyber criminals are always evolving and updating their tactics. If you’re struggling to keep up now, give it 6 months and you’ll be actively putting yourself at risk.

5 – Your computer fans are noisy

This can be one of the first signs that your device is nearing its time in the computer graveyard.

If you can hear the fans running and you’ve only just started working on the device, or if you’re not performing tasks that should be getting the device all hot and bothered, it’s not a great sign.

It could be that your applications and operating software are all updated, but they’re maxing out the device’s hardware, causing it to overheat.

6 – Upgrading your hardware leads to compatibility issues

Upgrading certain elements of your hardware can be the first step in giving your device an increase in speed and power.

However, upgrading some of the parts can lead to compatibility issues in an older device.

Your IT support partner should always make the best suggestions and recommendations when it comes to hardware upgrades, so consult them first. In some cases, it can be quite an expensive option, which leads to our last point…

7 – If to cost of upgrade or repair outweighs a replacement

You know what it means to throw good money after bad. Sometimes 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.

Sometimes it’s just better to suck up the cost and invest in a new device.

As with anything regarding your business devices or infrastructure, always consult your IT support partner before making any big decisions. It can be costly to replace one device, let alone a fleet of them. Your IT support partner will be able to discuss your requirements with you and make the best recommendations based on these and your budget.

If you don’t have an IT support partner that you can trust to give you the right support and advice, we’d love to help. Give us a call and let’s talk.