There is a universal truth to computers, regardless of OS, maker, or model- all computers have problems from time to time. Unfortunately, many consumers would rather buy a new computer than spend time fixing their malfunctioning one. This is a vicious cycle that can be broken, and maybe save you some money in the process. Here are a few reasons you may be tempted to upgrade your computer, and some tips on fixing the problems yourself.
1: Your computer has slowed down. This is the most common complaint about older computers, and can happen due to a variety of reasons. The most likely reason- maintenance. Computers, like cars, require maintenance from time to time. This can range from uninstalling bloatware and programs you don’t use to sweeping your computer for spyware and viruses(that even includes Mac users). For Macs, running a disk permissions repair regularly is a good start. On Windows, check to make sure your registry hasn’t become corrupted. Doing these regularly will help to speed up your computer. Make sure your computer is running the latest updates available for it. When all else fails, upgrading your RAM is still much cheaper than buying a new computer.
2: Your computer randomly reboots or shuts down. More often than not, this is due to keeping your computer’s fans clean. If your computer’s fans are coated in dust, they cannot perform properly. As a result, your computer shuts down to prevent overheating. This is especially common with desktops. Check your fans and clean them if necessary, especially if you feel more heat than normal coming from your computer. Another thing to check is whether or not your power cable is plugged in all the way. You’d be surprised just how often that is the case.
3: Your computer freezes, locks up, or gets the dreaded blue screen of death. This is a serious problem and has multiple approaches. The first and most common is to do a spyware check. Spyware and malware can reek havoc on your computer, especially if it’s a PC. Make sure to use an anti-spyware program and keep it up-to-date on definitions. An anti-spyware program out-of-date offers much less protection. If your computer checks in as spyware-free, check to see if your drivers are current. Keeping your drivers current helps your computer to communicate with your hardware. Many times, if a driver cannot be found, the computer will lock down. If neither of these methods do the trick, consider increasing your virtual memory to get the most from your RAM. More about that on Windows here. The article is dated, but the Vista steps should be very similar to Win7. Go here for Mac steps.
4: Your computer is making funny noises. This will almost always be a hardware issue. Try running your computer while it’s open to locate the source of the noise. If the noise is caused by a part that you cannot easily replace, it is still cheaper more often than not to take your computer in for repair than to buy a new one.
Do you have something that keeps your computer going and going? If so, feel free to share in the comments!