No computer lasts forever. Even a machine that was top-of-the-line when you bought it eventually reaches a point where it's not worth keeping anymore. But how do you know when it's time to replace your old device?
We're here to help you identify some warning signs that your computer is getting long in the tooth. If you've struggled with a few of these problems for a while, you should look at getting a new computer.
1. You Can't Run the Latest Operating System
Windows 10 and macOS both offer new OS versions free of charge. Most of the time, your computer will upgrade to the latest version without much issue. However, after some time, Apple might drop support for your model of Mac, or your computer might not meet the revised requirements for Windows 10.
When this happens, it's a good sign that your computer is at the end of its life. Staying on the latest OS is important in order to receive security updates, so you shouldn't use that old computer for long.
2. Certain Apps Won't Run
It's not just the OS that has requirements---certain apps won't run on outdated systems either. Even if you're on the latest version of macOS or Windows, resource-intensive apps might refuse to run if your computer doesn't have powerful enough specs.
For some people, this isn't a big deal. But if you need access to professional software and your computer can't handle it, it's time for a new one.
A similar problem comes when you don't have the space to install any new programs. An old computer with a severe lack of storage space is no fun to work with, as you have to constantly juggle what you have installed.
3. It's Extremely Slow
A slow computer can happen for many reasons, but there's an overwhelming slowness that comes with a completely outdated machine. If you can make lunch while you wait for it to boot and it regularly freezes up while typing, the hardware in your computer is likely to blame.
In some cases, performing maintenance like freeing up disk space and resetting Windows/macOS can help with this. But those may just be surface-level solutions to an underlying problem, and won't last for long.
4. The Hardware Is Damaged
It's possible that your computer has sustained some physical damage over time, especially for laptops. Maybe the screen cracked while you were traveling, or it's missing a few keys on the keyboard.
Little issues aren't the end of the world on their own, but over time they can add up to become a huge hassle. If you have a serious hardware issue, it might be a good idea to consider a replacement before the problem becomes worse. A clicking sound, for instance, can indicate that your hard drive is about to fail.
5. It Becomes More Trouble Than It's Worth
Working with an old computer can become a chore. You might experience network disconnects all the time due to a faulty Wi-Fi chip in your laptop, or have malware that keeps coming back. The charger won't work unless you jiggle it into the perfect position, and you still can't figure out what to do about that error message that pops up with every boot.
Like a used car, these problems can pile up into a frustrating mess. You don't want to spend more time troubleshooting your computer than you do actually using it.
Consider Replacing Individual Parts
Just because your computer has a few quirks doesn't mean you should throw it out right away. But it's important to be able to recognize the difference between a small issue and a sign that your system is outdated. Hopefully, with these signs in mind, you'll know when it's time to say goodbye to your machine.
Sometimes, you can fix a computer issue by swapping one component instead of the whole system. For example, you can replace a laptop battery that won't hold a charge, or upgrade your hard drive to an SSD. This can save you money compared to a new purchase and let you get more life out of your current system.
But if this isn't an option, have a look at what we look for when buying new computers to get an idea of what's most important.