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Life of a Computer
I was visiting with my marketing manager recently, we were discussing his PC and making some changes, adding some security and basically giving it a good “once over” as regular computer maintenance.  He asked me the age old computer question “How long should my computer last?”  I smiled and said that is a complicated question with lots of variables.  So here is a basic breakdown of what you may expect from your machine.

  1. Quality of the Computer:  Consider computers much like cars, there are different levels of quality.  The higher end cars will carry a better warranty and generally give better service over the life of the automobile, same with your computer.  Dell, HP, Apple, Toshiba are all very good brands, but computers, much like everything else, you get what you pay for.
  2. Computer Usage:  The number 1 reason computers fail to perform like they did when it was new, is how it is used.  Are you trying to create websites and graphics with a laptop?  Before buying a computer, define the purpose of the machine, this will greatly determine what hardware & software should be installed.  If you are just surfing the Internet, checking your email and visiting your favorite social media website, then most computers will do that.  But if you are a professional artist, engineer, designer, or enjoy online gaming, a better computer should be on your wish list.
  3. Protection: What protection do you have in place for your machine?  Remember, if it’s worth having, it’s worth protecting!
  4. Laptop, Desktop or Pad:  What type of machine do you have in mind?  The better question is how mobile do you wish to be?  Pads are wonderful tools for surfing and social media, but not so much for working.  Laptops bring the ability to work and surf, but with limited capabilities.  Desktops are not mobile at all, but are the better choice for the office or home.  Each has a life expectancy of its own.
  5. Years:  With everything we’ve discussed so far, you can imagine how difficult it is to answer the “Life of” question, but here is a generalization of what to expect with basic use and protection.  Desktops on average should give 5 to 6 good years of service, laptops will deliver 3 to 4 and the pads are good for 2 to 3 years.  Keep in mind that there are numerous ways to extend and shorten the life of any computer.

John McCann
John McCann & Associates, Inc.
IT Management for Small Business
Computer Services, Solutions & Support