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How to know it’s time for a new laptop

There’s hardly anything more frustrating than trying to get important work done on a slow, clunky computer

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

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For millions of people — including students, professionals, and even stay-at-home parents with side gigs — a laptop is like the control center of your life. But here’s the thing about laptops: They aren’t made to last forever. Eventually, they wear down…and sometimes it only takes three or four years. But are you just imagining things? Or do you actually need to replace your old laptop with a new one? Let’s explore five ways to know if it’s time to buy a new laptop.

Reason 1: It’s slower than a snail

Remember when you first got your laptop and you could open tabs quickly, instantly jump from one application to another, and download files in seconds? Well, if your laptop no longer does that for you, there’s a reason.

Over time, hard drives get filled, software becomes more demanding, and hardware starts to age. If simple tasks like opening a browser or word processor are testing your patience, it might be time to start looking for a replacement. 

Sure, there are things you can do to speed up an old computer, but at some point, the processing power simply doesn’t cut it with new applications and software that depend on higher computing capabilities.

Reason 2: It sounds like it’s going to take off

Laptops are designed to be relatively quiet, so if yours sounds like it’s preparing for takeoff every time you turn it on, that’s a red flag. Loud noises, especially from the fan, could indicate that your laptop is working overtime to cool down internal components. This can be due to dust buildup, aging fans, or simply because the hardware is struggling to keep up with modern software demands. 

Not only is the noise annoying when you have a loud laptop, but it also means your laptop’s cooling system might not be as efficient, putting your device at risk of overheating and causing further damage. The first step would be to back up all of your stored files into the cloud. The second step would be to get a new laptop that isn’t overpowered.

Reason 3: The battery life Is non-existent

Good battery life is what makes a laptop, well, a laptop. If you find yourself constantly connected to a power outlet because your battery can’t hold a charge, it defeats the purpose of having a laptop in the first place. 

Batteries degrade over time, and while it’s normal for a battery’s performance to decrease, there’s a limit to what’s acceptable. If your laptop can’t stay alive for more than an hour or two, even with light use, it’s a sign that the battery needs replacing. However, more than likely, it’s time for a new laptop.

Reason 4: It can’t run new software or updates

Software developers are constantly updating their programs to offer new features, improve security, and enhance performance. However, these updates often require more processing power and newer hardware. If you’re finding that your laptop can’t handle the latest software updates, or worse, it’s no longer supported by new versions of essential software, you’re missing out. 

Not being able to run the latest software can limit your productivity and expose your laptop to security risks. (This is actually a bigger problem than most people care to realize. Old laptops with outdated technology are extremely vulnerable. It’s imperative that you get a new laptop that allows you to use your computer without facing unnecessary security risks.)

Reason 5: Physical damage that affects functionality

Laptops are built to be somewhat durable, but they’re not indestructible. Accidents happen, and while minor cosmetic damage might not be a big deal, significant physical damage can affect your laptop’s functionality. 

Broken screens, malfunctioning keyboards, and damaged ports can make your laptop difficult (or even impossible) to use. In some cases, repairs might be possible, but if the cost of fixing your laptop approaches or exceeds the price of a new one, it’s probably time to upgrade.

Adding it all up

There’s hardly anything more frustrating than trying to get important work done on a slow, clunky computer. If you’re experiencing several of the issues discussed in this article, then it might be time to consider buying a new laptop. You’ll want to do some research, but that journey starts now.

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Written By

Jon Stojan is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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