How Long a Laptop Should Last (and How to Tell When to Replace It)
The laptop is one of the most useful innovations in modern computing—not only is it capable of accomplishing most (if not all) modern workplace tasks, it does so while offering the portability that today’s mobile operations require. However, these productivity workhorses don’t last forever…but how do you know when the time has come to upgrade?
Let’s examine this question together, so we can identify some of the warning signs and symptoms that indicate a laptop is due for a replacement.
Rule of Thumb: Laptops Typically Last About Three to Five Years
Depending on the quality of the device you’ve invested in, you can expect your laptop to function for about that long—budget models for three years, and nicer models for five. At that point, different applications and software will likely have progressed beyond the device’s capabilities. So, if you’d rather avoid the guesswork and stress of watching your essential hardware slowly fail, establishing an upgrade cycle that reflects this timetable can be an effective strategy.
Of course, there are certainly warning signs that your laptop is on its last legs, such as:
- Increased boot time
- Pauses, lag, slowdowns, and stutters when switching between tasks, applications, or even tabs
- Slower file transfer speeds
- Dead pixels or a flickering display
- The dreaded Blue Screen of Death, particularly with commonly-used programs
It is also worth mentioning that, even if your laptop has lasted for years, it needs to be compatible with a recent version of Windows. We recommend at least Windows 10. Once your laptop no longer meets the minimum system requirements, it is time to move on.
Can I Upgrade My Laptop, Instead of Replacing It, to Save Some Money?
In most cases, you’d be better off just replacing the device (responsibly recycling the old hardware). The way laptops are constructed, you’re more or less restricted to upgrading your RAM and the SSD storage the laptop is equipped with, as well as replacing the battery once it no longer holds as much of a charge. Otherwise—and at some point, eventually—it is more effective to start fresh with a new laptop.
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