How to Extend the Life of a Desktop Computer

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Your desktop computer has slowed to a crawl. You try to open multiple applications at the same time and BOOM, you’re frozen for good. It’s old, it’s failing, it’s nearing its death bed.
 
You have to get a new one now, right?
 
Maybe not.
 
After serving the IT needs of organizations in the DC Metro area for over two decades, we’ve supported our fair share of workstations. We’ve also supported our fair share of companies who don’t have unlimited capital with which to purchase new machines at the drop of a hat.
 
It’s these companies in particular who are quite pleased to learn that there are a couple simple changes you can make to your desktop that will often provide up to two more years of fast performance before the machine truly needs to be replaced.
 
We’ll work through these changes in depth below.
 

The two best ways to extend the life of your desktop computer

Target these two areas to boost the performance of your aging machine:
 
1. Replace your hard drive.

The number one component that degrades over time in a computer is the hard drive. If you have one of the older, spinning hard drives, that may be the primary cause of slowness. Newer solid state drives (SSD) offer many benefits over older spinning hard drives—the main one being that access times and read/write speeds are significantly faster (up to 100x for some benchmarks).
 
As of November 2015, our company has been using the Samsung 850 Pros for most of our desktop SSD replacements. Samsung offers a simple data migration utility that helps both technical and non-technical users migrate to the new hard drive with little keyboard time required.
 
Do note that most computers will also need a mounting bracket to fit a SSD into the computer, as SSDs typically come in 2.5-inch sizes whereas older spinning hard drives are usually 3.5 inches.
 
2. Upgrade your memory.

The second piece of the computer to look at is memory. Many older computers only have 4GB of memory. With today’s programs, 4GB of memory can easily be exceeded with only Outlook and a web browser open (we saw trouble in Google Chrome with about 10 tabs open on resource-intensive websites during testing).
 
If your computer is 32-bit, then you may have no choice but to replace your computer in order to surpass that limit. If you have a 64-bit computer, however, chances are you can upgrade your memory.
 
Your goal here should be 8GB or more to support the average person’s work habits.
 
We’ve received countless reports of the computer “feeling like new” after these two changes are made. Some folks have even expressed flat-out disbelief at the impact of such seemingly tiny alterations.
 
The best part about both of these upgrades? Together, they’ll run you an average of just $250 for the hardware (any required labor, of course, will be additional). Compare that to what you’ll gain back in productivity, and it’s really a no-brainer.
 
For specific recommendations you should certainly consult with your IT department, but we hope that these recommendations give you a solid starting point (and an alternative to immediately shelling out thousands on replacement workstations).
 
Best of luck!


Having trouble with your company's workstations? Looking for a resource to help  you manage them, maximize their performance, and offer ongoing technology  advice? Let us know--we can help.