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Do you need a new computer?

The tech world changes so fast, but do you have to change with it? We look at the reasons and timings for upgrading your home computer.

For those who are not that computer savvy, the idea of getting a new computer can be very daunting. Your computer can be like a comfy pair of slippers: they may have had their day, but you known them intimately and you really cannot be bothered wearing in a new pair.

But the computer world changes fast, and if you don’t change with it you can find that certain applications and websites stop being compatible with your PC – particularly if it is from a different generation.

So what are the telltale signs that it is time to upgrade?

1. It’s time

Most people suggest you replace your computer around every four years, but that is only to stay really current. For seniors who are not putting the computer through its paces too often, you can get away with something more like six years. If you wait any longer than that, however, software updates will likely slow your computer to a crawl or crash it. And it is better to replace the computer on your terms than end up with a dead piece of equipment.

2. Too hot to handle

One sign a computer is struggling is if your PC regularly overheats. A computer may get too hot if it is overworked or you have covered the cooling fans, but if it overheats for no reason it could be time for a new PC.

3. Slow start

One of the key signs it is time for a computer upgrade is if your PC takes a really long time to get going. A new PC will start within a few seconds, or a minute at most, but if you regularly have to walk away while your computer grinds its way to begin the day, something is wrong. It may be that you are running too many programs on your PC, but it may also be that your computer has a bad case of too-old-itis.

4. Failed upgrades

A key signal you need to go PC shopping is if the latest version of the operating system (OS) does not install, or it really slows down your computer. New operating systems appear every 12 months or so for both Mac and PC, and if you cannot run them then you really need a new machine. Failure to upgrade your OS can mean apps and programs do not run well, or may cease to work at all. You really need to run the latest version of an OS to get the most out of your PC.

5. Space invaders

If you do not have enough space, or memory, to do all you need with your computer then you might be in need of a new one. You have reached the limits of what your current machine can do, and while you can get a new hard drive put into the existing machine, if you have the money for a new computer it is better to upgrade the whole thing, not just Frankenstein it with new parts. If you do not know a lot about computers, it is best to keep it simple.

6. Listen up

Is your computer making more noise than usual? Whirring or grinding noises usually mean your computer is trying too hard and might need to be replaced.

Getting a new computer can be a great opportunity to get back online and enjoy using your machine again. Don’t be scared of upgrading; see it as a way to stay in touch with the online world and get more out of your computer.