When to Replace Your Old Computer or Laptop

When to Replace Your Old Computer or Laptop
Stack of dusty used laptops.

We all have an old computer or laptop laying around that we just can’t let go. Unfortunately, there comes a time when it’s better to upgrade to something faster and more secure. Here’s when to replace your old device.

Slow Load or Boot Times

Computers and laptops are constantly evolving. Every year, new models are released with better specs and features. And with today’s technology, you’re able to boot your system in a matter of seconds and browse your favorite websites at lightning speed. You can surf the web, run applications, and work on documents smoothly, without any hiccups.

If you’re on an older computer and you find yourself constantly waiting around for your device to start or to load webpages, then it might be time for an upgrade. However, it could be worth trying a factory reset to see if that makes any difference. This can fix all kinds of problems, including a slow computer, errors codes, random crashes, and hardware and software issues. All your files and programs will be removed, so back up everything you wish to keep.

A recently purchased rig, anywhere from a year to seven or so years ago may not need to be replaced, depending on your needs. Sometimes a smaller upgrade, such as more RAM, a better graphics card or CPU, or an SSD drive will make your old machine feel new again.

If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of your computer’s components, you can always take your rig to a local computer store to get personalized advice. We highly recommend this if you’re not tech-savvy, as choosing the right parts for your machine takes some thorough planning. Learning to modify or build a PC can be lots of fun if you have the time for it, though! You just don’t want to blow a bunch of money on parts that aren’t compatible with your system or overspend on something you don’t need.

Alternatively, you can head to your local computer store to try out some computers and laptops on display. You’ll be surprised at how far technology has come. Of course, you don’t have to burn a deep hole in your pockets to get a fast machine. You can find excellent computers and laptops for a reasonable price, so find one that’s within your budget. There are plenty of budget-friendly options that still offer excellent performance.

Outdated Security Software

Securing your private information has become more important than ever. As technology continues to advance, so do the methods that criminals use to break into systems and steal people’s data. If your PC doesn’t support the latest security software, you’re more vulnerable to attack. So if you’re using an older version of Windows or macOS and your security software either doesn’t work or starts complaining about compatibility issues, it’s definitely time to upgrade.

Not only that, but modern PCs come with security innovations in hardware, like the TPM chip, Apple’s T2 security chip, or Microsoft’s Pluton security processor. While they aren’t essential for general security, they can certainly bolster your defenses and protect your data safe from modern hackers, viruses, and malware.

If you’re still not certain you want to upgrade, double-check that your operating system is still getting regular updates with the latest security patches. Make sure you’re using the latest Windows version number or the latest edition of macOS. If you’re not, and attempting an update fails, that’s a sure sign you need to upgrade, so that your information stays safe.

RELATED: What Is the Latest Version of macOS?

Poor Graphics and Display

If you’re a creative professional or someone who enjoys playing video games or watching movies, having a computer with a good graphics card and display is valuable. Older computers may not be able to run the latest games or video-editing software smoothly. They also have duller and lower-resolution displays that can make working on projects or watching movies unpleasant.

Nowadays, modern computers and laptops offer gorgeous high-resolution graphics on big and vibrant displays. They make your time on the computer much more enjoyable, as you’re able to see all the fine details the way they were meant to be seen. The colors look full and the graphics are sharp and clear, giving you an immersive experience you’d never have on an old, outdated machine.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Can’t I just get a better monitor?” The answer is yes, assuming your rig is powerful enough to handle the software you use. For example, if your computer can’t run Adobe Photoshop CC smoothly, a new monitor won’t make any difference. The same goes for gaming and watching high-definition movies.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

A 13.5-inch Chromebook with a big, beautiful touch screen display. It even comes with a detachable keyboard!

Your Needs Change

You can find a computer or laptop to fit all kinds of lifestyles these days. Whether you need specific software on a Mac or a powerful rig to mine cryptocurrency, it’s important to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a PC.

For example, if you’ve been anchored to the tower on your desk for years, you might not realize how much you might enjoy the freedom of a laptop. Or, if you only use your computer for social media and other casual purposes, a Chromebook might be even more convenient at a lower price. Maybe you want to start streaming, which means you should look for a powerful rig with a higher-end GPU. Remember that desktops will be far cheaper than laptops with similar specs.

Take your time thinking about what your daily activities are and what you want in a computer so that you find the best device for you.