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Tech experts generally agree that your average PC should last anywhere between three to five years before needing an upgrade. However, with the right amount of care and maintenance, you can sometimes get a little more use out of your computer. Seeing as a PC is such a large investment, especially for those using it for business purposes, it pays to invest in the maintenance of your hardware in order to ensure it has a longer lifespan.
Know How to Keep a Computer Clean
While it might seem like an obvious maintenance task, ensuring that you are keeping your PC covered and clean can actually extend the life of the entire system. Dust, dirt, hair, and crumbs are some of the worst particles that can easily be introduced into your computer. Not only are they unsightly, but they can also accumulate to the point where they affect your hardware and components such as fans and more.
It’s incredibly important to ensure you’re not only cleaning the outside of your PC but also using canned air to remove debris from areas such as the keyboard and any area where there is a fan. If your fans get clogged up, they won’t be able to properly cool the computer and you’ll be heading towards a proper meltdown much sooner than you should.
Avoid eating and drinking near your computer to further maintain the cleanliness of the equipment and prevent any accidents from happening.
Give It Time to Cool Off
Now that you know just how important it is to keep your computer and its fans clean, you’ll want to focus on keeping it cool as much as you can. Sometimes, a computer that’s being overworked begins to overheat, and if your fans aren’t working properly, some modern processors and graphics chips will “thermal throttle” themselves if they get too hot.
To prevent this, you’ll need to provide it with the right environment in which to function and cool properly. If you’re using a laptop PC, avoid doing things such as placing it on your lap on top of a heap of blankets while in bed. If you ever feel your laptop getting hot, it’s best to close all of the programs you’re not using or close the PC itself and give it time to cool off.
If you work with a desktop PC, it is recommended to avoid placing it in an area that receives direct sunlight while also avoiding placing anything in front of or behind the computer that could potentially block the airflow of the fans. If you live in a particularly hot climate, it’s worth browsing Amazon or another marketplace for a fan that is designed specifically to help cool your particular PC.
Say Yes to Pesky Updates
They are annoying to deal with, we know, but the more often you allow your computer to update itself, the more efficiently it can run. Simply put: updates are a necessary component of maintaining a healthy, efficient computer. If you are working from a PC, you should defrag and perform a disk clean up at least once a month. If you find that you can’t possibly take the time out of your day to do this, you can set it up to run at night.
After updating all of your normal software, it’s important to also ensure that you keep your antivirus software up-to-date as this will help ensure your computer is safe from cyber-attacks that can compromise your data or your system as a whole. This is crucial, as most people view the lifespan of a PC solely in terms of how many years they can get out of the physical parts themselves. However, if you don’t update your PC and invest in protecting it from viruses and cyber-attacks, you could find yourself having to shop for a new one much sooner than if you had been more vigilant about the PC’s safety.
Engage in Routine Cost-Free Maintenance Hacks
You don’t have to spend money on upgrading your equipment in order to extend its lifespan. In fact, there are numerous ways in which you can perform software maintenance that will help give your PC a longer life. This includes tasks such as regularly updating your software, operating system and even the security software to ensure everything is up-to-date and that you’re protected from viruses and other attacks that could affect the lifespan of the computer.
You’ll also want to be mindful about how often you update your BIOS and drivers. Drivers interface with a computer’s hardware, which means that by updating them, you are ensuring that they can work properly to fix problems and improve the PC’s functionality. If you notice that your computer is beginning to lag a little bit when running larger programs, the chances are that it is due to an out of date driver.
Replace Old Hardware
with State-of-the-Art Tech
Just as you would with a car, you can prolong the life of your PC by replacing some old hardware, particularly Solid State Drives. Replacing a PC’s SSD is one of the best ways to lengthen its life, and with SSDs becoming so affordable nowadays, it’s a pretty low-cost hack. SSDs are great because they have no moving parts, meaning they can operate under much cooler circumstances.
Their construction also increases the speed with which your PC can power up, which reduces the amount of stress and heat required to start up each time you turn your computer on, thereby reducing any issues with overheating or the aforementioned “thermal throttle.”
Upgrading your computer’s RAM is another way to lengthen its lifespan, but it is less effective than investing in a Solid State Drive.
Stick to Manufacturer-
While it can be tempting to replace an old battery or another part of your PC with something that is either refurbished or sold from a non-authorized seller, it’s crucial that you only put original parts into your computer. Even though it might seem cheaper to buy a knockoff brand’s battery at the moment, it can sometimes cause issues down the road that you’ll have to pay more for later.
To prolong the life of your PC, it is best to contact the manufacturer or brand and purchase parts directly through them. Most brands have a technical support hotline that you can call in case you have questions about a specific part or how to install and download other things such as drivers that can really prolong the life of your computer.
If you’re not sure what type of replacement part to get, it’s best to speak with the manufacturer as they will be able to give you their recommendations based on their working knowledge of what parts are approved for your specific PC.
Protect Your Computer
Sure, this might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at just how much the average person puts their PC through. Protecting your computer is about more than simply buying a hardcover case for it and storing it in a safe place.
You should also invest in a surge protector, for example, to avoid frying your hard drive. This is especially important if you do a lot of traveling to foreign countries where you are charging your computer in different voltages. As an added safety measure, it’s recommended that you always unplug your computer, whether it’s a desktop that’s connected to the wall or a laptop that’s charging, during a thunderstorm.
If you do a lot of traveling, it’s recommended to turn the computer off during long journeys and place it in a padded case. Jostling a laptop around while it’s turned on can sometimes damage moving pieces, especially if you’re in for a really bumpy plane, train or car ride.
Uninstall Unnecessary Software
So you are protecting your precious PC and have updated all of its software. But have you wasted time updating software it does not actually need? To extend the lifespan of your PC, make sure you are not adding stress to the system and taking up space with software that can slow it down.
Get rid of useless software by heading over to the Start menu and right-clicking on the software you don’t deem necessary. Once the Programs and Characteristics window pops up, you simply have to right-click on the program you don’t want and click Uninstall. This will help clean your PC up in terms of software, which will help ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently when you are working on things that are actually important.
Ensuring that you are not running too many auto-startup programs is one small, simple way to help increase the startup speed of your PC, which will, in turn, reduce the stress you place on the hardware. You will notice which programs are set to auto-startup by taking note of which programs launch automatically after restarting your computer. If you don’t need them, turn the auto-startup off and watch your PC’s efficiency and speed increase.
Treat your computer like a friendly coworker and help it thrive by not stressing it out. To avoid putting unnecessary stress on your PC and helping prolong its life, avoid doing things such as constantly turning it on and off. Not only is this really not that necessary, but it causes your PC to heat up each time, which leads the hardware to expand and contract every time you do so.
Also want to avoid running too many high-powered programs at once. Close all programs and internet browser tabs that are not in use when working on a project and you will soon notice that your computer is not only running faster but that is not heating up as much as it tries to process every open program in the background.
Your entire PC system will last much longer if you treat it with care, and that means avoiding adding any additional stress to the system that it simply doesn’t need.
Make a Habit Out of Maintenance
Like any device that has a lot of moving parts, if you invest in the routine maintenance of your PC, you will be able to get a lot more use out of it. By treating your PC with care and investing in the proper maintenance of both the physical parts and the software inside, you’ll be able to lengthen the lifespan of your computer and avoid costly repair fees or even the cost of replacing it altogether.
Following these maintenance tips and hacks will help you stretch the money you have invested into your PC while also gaining additional quality out of the computer for many years to come.