When Do I Replace My Computer?

Dear Computer Lady,

Should I get my computer re-formatted or buy a new one?

Annie

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Dear Annie,

The answer to your question really depends on your computer. Here are some of the questions I ask my customers before I advise them.

First, what is the age of your computer?

If the computer is more than 5 years old, then you might want to just buy a new one. If the computer is less than 2 years old, I would say it is well worth the money to have the computer repair shop format the hard drive and re-install all your programs. This is a service I provide for my customers quite often, and it usually costs about $135. The cost is more if you have data that needs to be backed up first, and it will also cost more if the original disks can’t be found and I have to research the drivers on the internet.

Second question: Has the computer always been having the problems you are experiencing, or have they developed over time as you have used the computer and installed software programs?

If the computer has always had the problem you are hoping to get rid of, then there is a good chance that formatting the hard drive and re-installing all the programs is not going to fix the problem. If the problems have developed over time, then in most cases, re- formatting will make your computer as fast as it was when you first bought it.

Third question: Are you trying to use software that the computer is not fast enough to run?

Most of the time, people purchase a new computer because they have software programs that require more power than their current computer has. If this is the case then it would be best to upgrade your RAM or purchase a new computer.

Elizabeth

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