How to Extend the Life of Your Computer

While computers no longer cost an arm and a leg, and can easily be upgraded to maintain and extend its usefulness, most people still want to get the most use as possible out of their machines.

Lots of factors (battery life, quality of components installed, the way it’s used, etc.) play into determining the lifespan of a desktop or laptop computer; on average, PCs usually have about a four-year lifespan, while Mac says their machines will last about five years.

A question, though, does arise: when does a machine reach the end of its life? Some might say a machine is obsolete when it isn’t able to be used for the latest programs or software, while others won’t consider it “done for” until it can’t be used for anything.

In either case, if you want to squeeze every last moment – and the most efficient moments – out of your computer, there are some behaviors you can adopt to help make it last, and function well.

Keep it safe (from falling), clean and dry: Like any machine with many parts, some of them delicate, simply treating it carefully will extend its life. If it falls repeatedly, gets wet or dirty, its lifespan decreases considerably. (Note: Generally speaking, desktops last longer than laptops, primarily because they are less likely to be damaged or harmed in transit.)extend the life of computer


Close your tabs: When you leave tabs open, your computer is processing what is happening on those sites, even when you’re not looking at it, eating up processing power. It’s like keeping your car running all the time, but never driving it.

Shut off your computer occasionally: While there’s no need to turn it off every day, if you’ve gone a few weeks without turning it completely off, do so. And, if it is going especially slow, or crashing frequently, rebooting is a good idea. Even a computer needs to reset itself.

Empty the trash. Nothing bogs down a computer – causing its processor to strain and struggle – more than useless applications and files. Make it a habit to regularly remove applications which are no longer used, clear out your email boxes (don’t forget to empty the “deleted” file too!), and old files and documents that you’ll never need again and are just taking up space.

Always update your software: When you get a pop-up to update Adobe, iTunes or even your browser (Internet Explorer or Chrome, for example), do it. If you don’t, you’ll won’t get bug fixes or new anti-virus software that comes with the new version. Often, these patch updates will overcome issues that might be slowing down your system. NOTE: If you’re not an early adopter of things like new operating systems, it’s ok to let one version go by, but be sure to install the next. With a little effort and care, you can squeeze more usefulness out your computer or laptop.