When should you buy a new computer?

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 5/18/20

Buying a new computer isn’t always the answer if you’re having issues with your current PC or laptop, but here are some times it might be necessary:

Maybe if your PC has Windows 7: Microsoft ended all support for their Windows 7 operating system back in January of this year. Plus, many third-party companies don’t support their software products running on Windows 7 as well. It’s pretty much advised by everyone in the computer and IT field — including me — to stop using Windows 7 if you still have it on your computer. Without security patches to the operating system you are more vulnerable to viruses and hackers on the Internet.

Plus, the hardware is likely old and starting to become unreliable.

If you aren’t sure of your Windows version, you can quickly check on your computer: click the Start Button in the lower left corner to bring up the Start Menu, look for “Computer” or “My Computer,” right-click whichever one you have, and then select “Properties.” If you don’t see “Computer” or “My Computer” on the Start Menu, you may have Windows 8, 8.1, or 10.

In those versions, you’d right-click the Start Button itself in lower-left corner and select “System.”

Once you see the System window pop-up, you’ll find your Windows version and edition near the top of that window if using Windows 7 (or older) or near the bottom if using Windows 8, 8.1, or 10.

If you still have Windows XP or Vista, I strongly recommended to buy a new computer right away as support for those Windows versions ended years ago.

If you still have Windows 7: I suggest calling a computer pro to help determine if your computer is worth upgrading to Windows 10. If not, the computer pro can still help find a good computer for you and transfer the data and programs over so it’s similar to your old computer. Though you pay more for the help, it can make the whole process much easier and less stressful. If you’re concerned about getting used to Windows 10, a computer pro can usually help set it up close to Windows 7 so there’s less changes.

Maybe if your PC is older than 6 years: My general rule of advice is to replace computers about every six years. Of course, this can vary depending upon the specs of the computer, quality of parts, and the current health of the hardware and operating system.

For example, if you bought a high-end system near or over $1,000 about six years ago, your computer might be running well, or at least worth an upgrade if it’s not running great. On the other hand, if you bought a low-end system — like in the $200 to $400 range — six years ago, then your computer could be getting very slow and likely isn’t worth upgrading.

If a computer pro detects issues: Regardless of the age of your computer, I strongly suggest getting a yearly general checkup and cleanup done even if you aren’t having issues.

Checkups like these can catch issues before they cause problems, and even before the issues might be evident. If a computer tech detects a major issue like a hard drive starting to fail, they might suggest replacing the computer if it’s not worth fixing. In my company for instance, we have a checklist with over 40 items to check.

Techs can also perform cleanup tasks to help increase computer performance and address any annoyances you might experiencing.

Using the small local companies: When shopping around for a new computer, consider the small local computer service companies.

They might sell custom PCs and refurbished computers, both of which you won’t find at the big box stores. Customer service at smaller businesses can be superior as well.

No matter where you buy your computer, I also suggest getting professional help to transfer the data and programs over. If you don’t want to lug your computer into a shop, consider a company that provides on-site service where a tech comes to you and provides one on-one help, sometimes the same price or cheaper than dropping it off at a shop.

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