Life of computer

How long should a computer last?
I bought a basic (cheap!) all in one 4 1/2 years ago and is starting to get temperental., slow and locking up. I am hoping windows 10 will fix it but if not i feel it would be more economical to replace it rather than have it serviced as a replacementt like for like would be less than $700.

geek_don1751, Jul 18, 6:21 pm

They can last a while,my old core 2 duo is still going strong 7 years now.
Have you done whats needed-defragged the drive,having more ram helps on a basic one,checked for malware etc?I do a fresh re-install of the operating system once a year too.

geek_nesta129, Jul 18, 6:31 pm

i have a few here that are at least 20 years old, and i know of others that would be coming up 40 years old by now, still running like the day they were first plugged in, so 4 and a half is nothing

you may want to run some basic tools

such as ccleaner and malwarebytes - both of which should be available on for free

geek_pcmaster, Jul 18, 6:37 pm

Ah, note it is an "all in one". So would have had a slow CPU and (possibly) prone to overheating (not good for chip longevity) to begin with.

geek_r.g.nixon, Jul 18, 6:43 pm

at four years it is conceivable the hard disk is having a meltdown, perhaps check it with hdsentinel.

if you define "starting to get temperamental" a bit more then you may get something more than generic advice

geek_king1, Jul 18, 8:10 pm

I'd say it's just full of malware and crap programs.

A reinstall would do it wonders. Probably with a retail version of Windows, as the OEM one will be full of crapware.

geek_lugee, Jul 18, 8:14 pm


geek_mrfxit, Jul 18, 8:29 pm

Still running a motherboard from 2005 & hdd's from a couple of years later.
Running fine here on XP Pro.
Last install is approx 4 years old.

geek_mrfxit, Jul 18, 8:40 pm

Anywhere between a day and 50 years.

geek_suicidemonkey, Jul 18, 8:46 pm

Ran malwarebytes, came out clean.
Ran cc cleaner and has improved performance markedly.

geek_don1751, Jul 18, 9:08 pm

Sounds like it's software issue. Nothing to do with hardware or the 'life of your computer'.

geek_volkier, Jul 18, 9:24 pm


Computers Economic life: 3-7 years Life expectancy: 5 years

geek_lythande1, Jul 19, 7:36 am

I have a desktop the runs XP and was built in 2006, it is still fine though I don't add it to the network anymore. My laptop is still going strong after 4 years. You need to keep on top of the 'computer housekeeping', to keep the software tops and then you need to dust it inside and out now and again. A laptop needs to be kept cool, not on the bed, on a hard surface, not on your lap, not in the sunshine.

geek_jhan, Jul 19, 9:01 am

Ccleaner, Malwarebytes then defraggler

If its hardware, at that type of age I would almost be looking at new computer rather than pay sombody to look at it. Specifically being an all in one.

A couple of things you can try.
Windows 7 has built in Ram check.
HDTune has a hard drive test which i found to be easy to use. There are other tools out there as well, I would try to find the manafacturer of Hard drive and download their test tool.
If its the likes of an HP branded comptuer they have built in test. hit esc a few times after you push the powerbutton shoudl give you some extra menus you should be able to find the self test there.

geek_g_yde, Jul 20, 7:37 pm

My first HP Pavilion lasted 10 years and my second is about 4.5 years old . The problem is though if you want to get into video editing/gaming, as the technology is advancing so fast (eg 4k) you really need to update quite frequently maybe every 2-3 years. Unless you build your own, branded computers are not really that upgradeable today if at all.

geek_cassina1, Jul 20, 10:44 pm

anything beyond the warranty is a bonus

geek_andrew.t, Jul 21, 10:04 pm

Everything aside from the mechanical hard disk and fans should last for years and years. The problem is poor quality components (especially capacitors) filtering through the supply chain, poor heat dissipation (bad design) and in some cases planned obsolescence. Properly designed and built electronics should last a very long time. The fact that they don't is criminal.
Sure, a 5 year old computer is outdated. But the hardware should still be fine. After 7-10 years I would expect the hard disk would possibly need replacing, but the electronics should still be fully operational.
In my experience an old 386 board that has been running for 15 years straight and then abandoned in a closet is more likely to be fully functional than a 10 year old home desktop.

geek_farside03, Jul 22, 9:13 am

Moores Law
Moore's law" is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. The observation is named after Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, whose 1965 paper described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit,[note 1] and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade.[2][3][4] In 1975,[5] looking forward to the next decade,[6] he revised the forecast to doubling every two years.[7][8][9] His prediction proved accurate, in part because the law now is used in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and to set targets for research and development.[10] The capabilities of many digital electronic devices are strongly linked to Moore's law: quality-adjusted microprocessor prices,[11] memory capacity, sensors and even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras.[12] All of these are improving at roughly exponential rates.

This exponential improvement has dramatically enhanced the effect of digital electronics in nearly every segment of the world economy.[13] Moore's law describes a driving force of technological and social change, productivity, and economic growth in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
From Wikipedia.
So why put up with old crap?

geek_nzdoug, Jul 22, 10:52 am

Because in some situations the "old crap" is perfectly adequate. You don't need the latest i7 with 16GB RAM for checking Facebook. A 5+ year old computer with a new SSD will do it just as quickly. All these computers with a two or three year life span are an ecological nightmare. Both in resource consumption and disposal. But we all want nice shiny new things. I'm just as guilty as everyone else.

geek_oclaf, Jul 22, 11:06 am

My last desktop was almost ten years old when I retired it around 2008-2009. My current one ran about four years, but is in storage at the moment, not sure if I'll use it again. Am using a small notebook with an SSD now, have had that about two years, intend to get another couple out of it before I pass it on to somebody.

My previous notebook/ laptop went to a friend, he is still using it, although the battery is now dead, he doesnt leave home with it so not a problem. The one before that would be about 7 years old now, that is also with another friend, still in use although the keyboard is only partly functional, he just uses an external one. One before that died after 8 years

geek_peja, Jul 22, 11:22 am

I end up scrapping Far far more numbers of modern PC's then I do of any PC's prior to Pentium 4 & earlier.
Why, because they are mostly DOA or so screwed up they might as well be DOA.
I find that with each generation forward in base board & cpu/skt design, the life span is getting shorter due to electronic issues.

I have several XT 4.7mhz computers here that are still in good working condition.
Puts modern pc's to shame for working life span.

geek_mrfxit, Jul 22, 11:26 am

The only real exceptions are for those few short years where almost ALL manufactures got hit hard with bad supplies from that international capacitor factory.
M/b & hdd AND car manufactures all got caught in that abortion of a factory.

geek_mrfxit, Jul 22, 11:29 am

BTW, do you have any old 486 /386 motherboards floating around?
Im trying to build up a nice retro DOS gaming rig.
Im killing myself that i threw alot of this sort of stuff out years ago.

geek_nzoomed, Jul 22, 11:59 am

Nvidia graphics cards only last about 1.5 years

geek_honeysacat, Jul 22, 4:06 pm

bad ol putty tat

geek_king1, Jul 22, 9:02 pm

It's a "TARDIS" . how the heck am I spose to know whats in there on any given day.

geek_mrfxit, Jul 24, 7:06 pm

All Acers here, the oldest runs Windows 2000 and still collects and sends emails have had it for 10 to 12 years. Have two other Acers and the latest one failed after a few days of getting it, middle one around 2008 still going good.

geek_coolcort, Jul 24, 10:16 pm

lol i know the feeling, anyway.
Ive just got a hold of some brand new i486-DX2-66MHz CPU's if anyones interested, ill list them at $40 each or do a swap for some 32 pin simms or motherboards etc.

geek_nzoomed, Jul 28, 12:04 pm

Interesting consumer says things like this, they do not manufacture anything so how can they say how long something should or should not last.
Modern computers are designed to last about 3 years, thats it, anything more is a bonus.
Consumer electronics are made to a price, purchasing officers at large consumer electronics manufacturing companies purchase down to 5dp, i.e 0.00001 of a cent, they will change component suppliers and component manufactures will cut what corners they can and reduce their manufacturing cost.
Consumer do not know what pressure consumer electronic providers are under to deliver cheap product.

geek_zl1vbt, Jul 28, 8:43 pm

Rubbish. I was using an 11 yr old one in the weekend - no problems at all.

geek_r.g.nixon, Jul 28, 9:10 pm

They are implying their "usable" life i guess lol, we were told at tech its 3 years, but its still rubbish, yes i see old computers still running after 12 years or more, they may be crap, and slow but they still work, it even had the old samsung IDE HDD, was blown away that it still worked.

geek_nzoomed, Jul 28, 10:56 pm

A manufactures quoted lifespan term is mostly to limit repeat warranty work & obligations for parts supply.

Imagine if they had to keep repairing & supplying parts for a Model T car or an XT 4.7mhz computer

geek_mrfxit, Jul 29, 8:59 am

Thats right, but i doubt that anyone would keep such a machine going for so long. Although i must say with multi core computers these days, they seem to have a far longer operational life than before because software hasnt fully caught up with the hardware yet.

geek_nzoomed, Jul 29, 9:30 am

I bought my daughter a 15" MacBook Pro 8 and a half years ago. She used it for 4 years at university, took it away travelling for 2 years and uses it constantly at home now. Battery is stuffed and the hard drive sounds like an aircraft but it is still going.

geek_nbrob, Jul 29, 10:16 pm

That sound is more likely to be a fan - if it gets too slow or stops, the computer will cook.

geek_r.g.nixon, Jul 29, 10:18 pm

Electronic components can fail by virtue of age even if not used.
I suspect deterioration sets in from day one due to microscopic imperfections.
Heat,impact and moisture may also speed up the process as well.

geek_frank80, Jul 30, 1:43 pm

They were great cpus, mine lasted several years until I bought a 3-year old P3 1ghz. That was a good pc too.

geek_duggin, Jul 31, 6:06 pm

yeah they were good, thats what i grew up on when i was at school, most were were 386 machines with 2MB ram!
When we got a 486 at school, it was a BIG deal!

I know someone who overclocked a 486 DX4-100 up to 200 MHZ by changing the crystal on the motherboard along with some other mods.

geek_nzoomed, Aug 1, 9:21 am

Do they come in packaging? I'd be keen for some if you could list them please.

Edit : Oops thats aimed at Nzoomed with the 486-DX2s

geek_networkguy, Aug 1, 9:39 am

How many do you want?
They come on a bulk blue plastic tray like how most suppliers stocked them, i can get more of these if there is enough demand.

Im also happy to swap for a good 486/386 motherboard and/or 32pin simms (mainly 2-4mb sticks)

geek_nzoomed, Mar 20, 5:24 pm

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