Facet Blog

Seven Factors that Affect the Lifespan of Your Computer

April 30, 2021

How long will a computer last? When do I need to replace my computer?

We get these questions often here at Facet, but it’s not easy to formulate an answer in most cases. There are no fixed rules here, as it often comes down to personal preference.

We can, however, offer some guidance on how to keep your current PC in good working condition. What can you do to extend the life of your computer? There are a few tricks that can help you extend the life of your PC, but it’s also important to understand that even under perfect circumstances, all computers will eventually need to be replaced.

Hardware Lifecycle

All hardware fails, and we can’t accurately predict the lifespan of any one component. Keep this in mind both when purchasing and planning for the retirement of a computer.

Hardware components fail on a bell curve. That is to say, when any one component is mass manufactured, some individual pieces will fail early on. Sometimes this will fall within the manufacturer’s warranty, but bear in mind that warranties are typically designed to end before any considerable number of failures occur (this is why “Black Friday special” PCs often have 3-month warranties attached—we see a lot of these PCs in March and April). Most will fail somewhere in the middle, and a few will outlast the rest and fail much later. There’s no great way to tell where, say, your laptop’s track pad or LCD falls on that bell curve. There are too many individual components in any given PC to control every variable.

Extend Your Computer’s Life with These Easy Changes

Some environmental factors do speed up the decay and subsequent failure of hardware components in your PC. A few such factors include:

  1. Leaving the PC on a charger 24/7: “trickle charging” (where the battery is charged a tiny bit each time it drops to 99%) can cause the battery to fail quicker. We recommend letting the battery drain partly before plugging it in to charge to extend battery life.
  2. How often you use the PC: most computers are designed for daily use, but, of course, parts like keyboards, trackpads, and charging ports decay faster with increased use. Most computers can sit unused without damage for a while, but it is smart to boot up a computer regularly to run updates and make sure it is in working order.
  3. Changes in temperature: computers are not designed to withstand extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum. It’s always best to keep your computer in a climate-controlled environment, especially away from the summer heat (and take your laptop out of your car at night!).
  4. Using your laptop on your couch, bed, or lap: most laptops have vents in the bottom to keep the components from overheating. Blocking those vents with a blanket or other soft surface can keep them from doing their job and decrease the life of your computer. Try either a lap desk or tray table to save it.
  5. Allowing your computer to get dusty or dirty: even the cleanest houses have some dust in them, and laptop and desktop PC fans are magnets for these tiny particles. Over time, they cause the inner workings of your computer to run hotter, which makes them fail faster. Regularly use canned air to clean out your keyboard and fans (and try not to eat over your computer to prevent a “crumb coating” that makes keys sticky). Check out our blog post and tech tip on keeping your PC clean (opens in new tab).
  6. Replacing your old battery with a knock-off: there are a lot of cheap batteries for laptops out there, but it’s important to get an OE replacement when yours goes bad. Knockoff batteries have a higher failure rate, and if they expand, or, even worse, catch on fire, they can ruin your entire home as well as your laptop. Your best bet is to bring it to a local computer repair shop like Facet Technologies, where we will get the proper part numbers to get the right replacement.
  7. Being rough with your computer in general: this is one you probably already know, but it’s worth noting once more. Treat your computer gently. Don’t toss it or carry it in a bag without a proper sleeve, and don’t carry your laptop by the top panel (better yet, don’t carry it around open). Be gentle when plugging in USB devices and power ports. These small steps will help save you from expensive future repairs!

For computer repair in Peoria, IL, call Facet Technologies at (309) 689-3900. We offer full-service computer repair, virus removal, diagnostics, hardware upgrades, and more. We also offer custom-built desktop computers and Lenovo laptops to fit your needs.