Lee Harvey Computing Guide to Computer Repair vs Replace

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guide to repairing or replacing computer

Nothing lasts forever, but as most computers are a big investment you want to make sure that you get the most for your money. Upgrades and repairs can keep your computer ticking along, but when your machine starts to crawl and crash, it may be time to replace it rather than repair.

But how do you determine when to fix your computer and when to replace it? Here we explain more.

When to repair your computer and when to replace it

Your computer consists of multiple complex components, so a lot depends on what is causing the problem and how old the PC or laptop is. A good quality computer should last at least 5 years, but with regular systems upgrades, you can keep it running effectively for longer.

Although buying a new computer often feels like the easily option, when you replace rather than repair, you should bear in mind that the setup and installation can be time consuming.

From transferring files to re-installing software, re-connecting printers, and personalising your on screen settings from scratch; in most cases it is more cost effective and a lot less hassle to repair your computer rather than replace it – unless of course your processor has a major problem.

If you are deciding whether your computer needs replacing or repairing, then you should always get an expert opinion. At Lee Harvey Computer Repairs in St Austell we provide free quotes to diagnose the problem and can advise on whether it is fixable or not.

Should you repair or replace your laptop?

Just like computers, when your laptop starts to fail there is no easy answer as to whether you should replace or repair it. Different circumstances, preferences, and budgets all call for different solutions.

Sometimes, we automatically assume that when things go wrong, they need replacing when in fact, your laptop may just need maintaining.

Laptop motherboard failure is nearly always going to be result in your laptop having to be replaced. A motherboard is incredibly expensive, and depending on the make, model and age of your machine, it can end up costing you more than the laptop is worth.

If you own a high end gaming laptop, which was a big money investment, then we strongly advise seeking expert advice as in these circumstances it may be worth spending the money on getting the motherboard re-conditioned.

When is a computer considered outdated?

A computer can be outdated literally in a matter of a month’s thanks to evolving technology and the speed in which new computers are being bought to market. Computers are never released at their full potential, as upgrades can nearly always be added to enhance their performance further.

But this should not prevent you making a purchase, as action only really needs to be taken when an operating system is discontinued – for example when Microsoft stopped all of its support, updates and security for Windows 7. Therefore the biggest indicator of whether you computer is outdated or not, is its ability to handle the newest generation of software.

There will of course come a point when your computer stops performing up to par, and this is when we can look at servicing and upgrading your computer for you.

Is my computer upgradable?

The best way to speed up an old, slow computer is to upgrade the hardware. And, in most cases, (especially with desktops), you can literally upgrade every component inside the computer if you so wish. With laptops however, unless you have a high end gaming laptop (as stated above), then you will only be able to upgrade the hard drive/ssd drive and memory.

A simple upgrade can massively enhance performance, as I recently proved. Having been fixing computers for decades, I upgraded my own computer with a new ssd drive and the results were instant. Having previously taken 1.25 minutes to load and start-up, my computer now runs as good as new, and can boot up from cold in as little as 23 seconds!

Is it worth fixing a laptop screen?

It is a fairly common occurrence for us to be called out to replace a laptop screen. Whether it is worth the cost, however, really depends on the age of the machine.

Laptops depreciate by around 30% each year. Therefore if you have a standard laptop that is more than 4+years old, it probably does not make financial sense to fix the screen and we would recommend looking for a new laptop instead. The same can be said for touchscreen laptops, as these are expensive to replace and difficult to source.

If, however, you have a high-end gaming laptop where your initial investment was in excess of £1000, then it is probably going to be more cost effective to replace the screen rather than the entire machine.

How do you know when is it time to buy a new computer?

If your computer is running slow then at Lee Harvey Computer Repairs in Cornwall, we always recommend that you get it serviced. It could be that it needs something as simple as a systems upgrade, or a programme clean up to get your computer running back at normal speed.

But, if your computer is beyond economical repair or is so old that its system requirements do not meet the necessary minimums to update to the newest version of your preferred operating system or browser, then it may be time to trade it in.

When is the best time to buy a computer?

The price of computers fluctuates throughout the year, but if you are in the market for a new machine or laptop and can hold off for the sales then this is probably the best time to bag a bargain. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Days and the usual Christmas and New Year Sales offer the best chance of a discount.

Nearly all computers and their parts are made overseas and their components are passed through the supply chain across different countries and currencies. All of this has an impact on the price of the final product. Disasters such as Coronavirus and tsunamis can cause computer prices to inflate as supply becomes short. The biggest unknown, however, will be the effect of Brexit as no one knows how leaving the EU will affect the price, stock and exchange rates for computers and their components.

Is a 10 year old computer worth fixing?

If you have a computer than is 10+years old, then you may be wondering if it is worth repairing.

The answer depends on what you are using the computer for and the cost quoted for repairing it. Each year, computers are being built to be even more powerful, so by the time your computer hits double figures, it is probably best to put it out for retirement.

You may be able to increase the performance of a 10 year old computer a little through upgrading the systems, but the amount of power you would need to run modern programs is often going to be too much for your computer to handle.

It is always worth getting in touch to see what options are available to you – whether that is repairing an old machine or purchasing a reconditioned one, it does not always have to result in a large investment.

What is the lifespan of a computer?

Like most things – you get what you pay for – although with computers luck also plays its part.

A good quality computer should last you at least 5 years and with regular maintenance and updates it could continue running for twice as long. Unfortunately, I have seen some computers that are completely dead on arrival, seen some that have gone wrong after just 6 months and some machines that continue working efficiently for 15+ years.

Can a laptop last 20 years?

I have seen some computers last for 20 years, but you really would not want to use them. As technology is constantly evolving, trying to get onto the internet or run any programs would be nearly impossible and take forever to load.

Put it this way, it’s just over 20 years since I started in the computer repair trade and my hard drive back then wasn’t even 20gb – in fact our processing and memory power were not even running in gigabytes. If you are someone who likes things done quickly, then you need to keep up with the times, as a computer from 20 years ago would not even be capable of running a simple Facebook game!

A final word of advice

I would always recommend calling us at Lee Harvey Computing for advice on whether to fix or replace your computer.

As a general rule of thumb, you can get away with repairing or upgrading your device if it is relatively new or if the cost of the update is minimal. How much money you should continue to invest in your computer will depend largely on the extent of the problem and whether it can continue to fulfil the specific purposes for which you require it.

Lee Harvey

Lee Harvey

Lee is an experienced computer repair engineer and operates across Cornwall from his base in St Austell.

Computer Repair Cornwall

About Lee Harvey

We offer full diagnostics and repair of any make and model of desktop or laptop computer as well as any software repairs on tablet computers.
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