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How Long Do Computers Last? How to Care for Your Computer?



How Long Do Computers Last

Approximately 79.4 million personal computers were ordered in 2020. Many consumers end up asking the question, ‘how long do computers last’, but fail to realize that this is the wrong question.

Regardless of the computer cost or computer model, how you treat it is often more important. This article discusses the different types of computers and how to keep them in the best condition possible. Continue reading to maximize computer lifespan.

Types of Computers

There are many different types of computers including personal computers, tablets, mainframes, and more. While discussing, “how long do computers last,” we are going to focus on the two main types of personal computers, which are desktops and laptops.

The average computer lifespan of any computer model or style depends heavily on how it’s treated. A high computer cost doesn’t necessarily mean it will last longer, especially if it’s not treated with care.


Desktops tend to have a longer computer lifespan than laptops with the average being approximately three years. The computer cost is also lower in comparison.

Desktops have a longer lifespan than laptops due to better airflow and the ability to easily replace damaged or outdated parts. Improved airflow allows the computer to run cooler while the ability to replace parts keeps your computer updated.


The average lifespan of laptop computers is about two years regardless of your computer model. This is in part due to portability. Being able to keep laptops portable requires a sacrifice of certain features that increase longevity.

Even though desktops last longer, laptops have outperformed them in terms of worldwide sales. It’s possible that consumers prefer portability in a computer with a smaller physical footprint.

How Long Do Computers Last?

Most computers last anywhere from two to five years. However, there are several factors affecting computer lifespan including environment, usage, and computational needs.

Computers with strenuous jobs or those left in extreme temperatures tend not to last as long as computers that are better cared for. For example, avoid using your laptop on a soft surface that can block the air vent and cause the computer to overheat.

Maintenance to Increase Computer Lifespan

Whichever computer model or type you choose, performing regular maintenance can help increase the overall computer lifespan. Computer repair can also be a great way to save on the cost of a new computer.

Since there is a lot you can do as far as computer maintenance, it can be difficult to keep track of what to do and when to do it. For that reason, we recommend creating a maintenance checklist or schedule.

Try organizing your list into a table to keep better track. List out the tasks you need to perform as well as the frequency you need to do them such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.

Keep Your Computer Components Clean

While you shouldn’t spray your computer with soap and water, you should be cleaning it regularly to help with performance. One of the most valuable tools you can have for this process is a can of compressed air.

Use the compressed air to clean out fans and remove dust particles from nooks and crannies. Use an electronic wipe or a dry Q-tip to clean between the keys on your computer.

Allowing dust and debris to accumulate can affect the functionality of different components. Parts may stick together or overheat if they’re clogged with sticky dust. For this reason, try to avoid keeping food or drink near your computer.

Keep Your Computer System Clean

Keeping your computer system clean is another way to keep your overall computer cost down in terms of repairs and replacements. You should regularly turn off or restart your computer and backup your data.

Restarting your computer helps clear the memory that uses RAM space. It can also help fix issues with the hardware or programs running in the background.

Once per month, defragment your computer’s hard drive. This helps speed up access to files and makes the file smaller. The defragmenting process is typically found in the control panel of your computer.

Try to find ways to optimize your computer system such as reconfiguring your start-up processes. Some processes start running immediately when the computer turns on, which can affect your computer’s performance.

Keep Your Computer Updated

Working with the most up-to-date applications is important for all types of computers. Checking for updates at least once per month can help fix security issues or software bugs.

If you have trouble remembering to check for updates, check your settings. Since this is so important for computer performance, most computers allow you to change your settings to automatically check for updates.

Protect Your Computer From Viruses

The answer to, ‘how long do computers last,’ changes significantly whether you make an effort to protect your computer. Running quality antivirus software each day helps remove malware that is intended to cause computer damage.

Make it a habit to check for firmware updates. These updates help computer hardware function as it’s supposed to. Some computer updates automatically include these, but you should check with your manufacturer.

You should also make it a habit to routinely change your passwords. Leaving them the same for long periods can leave you vulnerable to hackers that may gain access to your personal information.

Signs You Need Computer Repair or Replacement

Whether you’re excited by the prospect of a shiny new computer or dread the high cost, you shouldn’t ignore the signs that you need a new computer.

Keep in mind, some of the common signs it’s time for replacement may actually indicate a need for computer repair instead. Talking with a repair professional can help you determine whether the repair is possible and worth it or not.

Problems With Compatibility

As you make regular updates to hardware and software, older computers may start experiencing compatibility issues. This happens when the updated program or part no longer communicates with the computer.

In some situations, it may be too difficult or expensive to rectify the issue. In other cases, it may not be possible given the age of the computer. It’s important to look into compatibility before performing an update or purchasing new hardware.

Noisy Computer Fans

When a computer is performing strenuous tasks, the fan may run louder than when it’s not. However, when a computer is nearing the end of its lifespan, this can happen even at times of low activity.

This is also a result of compatibility issues since your computer may be running harder to keep up with the new information or functions it has to perform.

High Computer Repair Cost

In some cases, computer repair is a possibility for keeping your current computer in good shape. That doesn’t always mean it’s the best option for you. There are times when a computer repair or upgrade doesn’t make financial sense.

Some experts recommend that if a repair costs around 66% of the price of a new computer, it’s more financially reasonable to upgrade than to repair. Even if you make the repair, you may not get 66% of the lifespan of a new computer.

Slow Processing Time

Computers on their last leg are slow. They start up slowly, shut down slowly, and have trouble multitasking. This starts happening gradually at first and worsens as the computer ages.

If your computer has trouble functioning when you open multiple programs or tabs or if loading times are unreasonable, it may be time to look for a new computer.

How to Set Up a New Computer

If the time has come for a new computer, you need to know how to take care of it. This includes reviewing the different types of computers. You should know ‘what is Intel Evo?,’ and get information about the newest Mac Book to find the right fit for your computer needs.

You also need to know how to take good care of a new computer if you want to enjoy a long computer lifespan. This starts with setting up your computer for success.

Install Programs and Software

Once your computer is fresh out of the box and charged, start installing the programs and software you need. Make sure everything is working as it should after the installation is complete to avoid problems down the road.

Ensure Security

After you’ve installed your software, you’ll want to invest in a quality security program or set up the one that came with your computer (if applicable). Keeping your new computer secure is essential for any computer model.

Migrate Files

Wait to migrate over any files from your old computer until after your security program is installed and running. You want to have access to whatever files you need, but you don’t want to introduce any new viruses.

After all your file transfers are complete, start a scan of your computer. This will help ensure you didn’t bring any corrupted files over to your new computer.

Maximize Your Computer’s Lifespan

The answer to, ‘how long do computers last?’, depends on how well you take care of it. Asking it to do too much, treating it roughly, and storing it improperly can ruin even the best computer model. Treating it with care is key.

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