When I first started driving in the city – and still to this day – I was complaining about how slowly everyone drove. A friend told me, “Don’t get mad at the guy driving slowly in front of you, he spent all day yesterday on a tractor driving 15 MPH in a circle.” I still get mad, but this perfectly illustrates how the lines between life in the country and life in the city often blur here in West Texas.
What does all of this have to do with computers? Did you just fall for clickbait and this is actually an attempt to sell you farm equipment? No. Here’s my point and my theory.
Farmers and ranchers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment but they expect that type of technology to last for decades. My theory is that they expect this from all of the equipment that they buy, even a new computer.
Unfortunately, PCs just don’t last that long anymore. While there is no definitive answer as to how long they will last or how often you should replace your computer, here is our collective experience that matches many in our industry.
Plan to replace your PC every 3 – 5 years (the life expectancy of a laptop is slightly less). Here are a few reasons why.
The hard drive (where the data is stored) fans, power supply and the motherboard all fail eventually. These are man made components that are prone to giving out. We often see lower end computers have hardware failure what we call “a year and a day.” We started using this term to describe failures that happen just outside of the manufacturer’s warranty and it happens quite often.
Software constantly evolves and software companies stop supporting older versions.
Unlike a John Deere tractor (which you can typically find someone who can work on even a very old one), computer software companies eventually stop supporting and updating old versions. The cost is just too great.
Modern PC users run more applications and programs on the same computer than ever before and as each software title updates, it often uses more resources.
I remember my first Windows PC, it had Windows 3.1 installed on it. I ran MS Money and AOL on it. That’s it! Now, a new PC comes with dozens of apps right out of the box. Then the typical user begins to install the different apps that they need. All of these apps take system resources and with each upgrade they use more and more. This often makes it necessary to buy new hardware to upgrade or simply buy a new PC over time.
Proactively replacing a PC before a catastrophic failure typically costs less money and definitely takes less time and causes less stress.
When a PC is completely dead it takes different tools and a different approach to retrieve the data, find software keys (or buy new software) and get the new PC up and running than it does to transfer everything from one operational computer to another.
A thrifty person can sometimes squeeze an extra year out of a computer but sometimes that gamble is a bust and it actually costs them more money than just purchasing a new one when the time comes.