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How often do you change computers?

akbmusic

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We have had our computer for a little over 4 1/2 years. It has started doing strange things, like "lose" the USB ports, freeze up and lose the mouse...
It has been worked on (and checked for viruses) a couple times in the last six months. (No viruses have ever turned up) I told my DH that maybe it was time to change, and he stated that it seemed like we just bought this one.
So how about it? How many years go by between your computer purchases?
 

geoffb

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(You didn't mention what kind of computer it is but I'll read between the lines and assume a desktop computer running Windows.)

What you are describing does not sound like a hardware problem, but rather hardware symptoms for software problems. Issues like this develop over time with Windows and in my experience it is necessary to entirely rebuild the operating system every 6-12 months to keep it running well.

As for the hardware, most computers are designed for a 3-4 service life so in computer years 4.5 years is a long time but if it meets your needs there isn't much reason to replace it.

You might as well wait until you need to replace it because of (a) hardware failure or (b) a desire to upgrade. For example, the next version of Windows certainly won't run on a system that old so upgrading to that version of the operating system when it is released would be a reason to buy a new computer.

PS -- If the computer still has the original hard drive be sure to keep good backups. That is the component that is most likely to fail from age.

PPS -- I have three computers and replace one each year so they are all within an extended 3-year warranty from the manufacturer.

-Geoff
 

Keitht

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geoffb Issues like this develop over time with Windows and in my experience it is necessary to entirely rebuild the operating system every 6-12 months to keep it running well. [/QUOTE said:
Regular rebuild / re-install may have been required back in the days of Win95 or Win98, but there should be absolutely no requirement to do that under XP. I have had my current machine for almost 4 years now and had no problem whatsoever with the operating system.

As to how long you should keep a machine, there is no easy answer. If the machine continues to run the applications you need there is no reason to change. I replaced my old machine simply because I needed something capable of running video editing and photo editing software at a decent speed.
 

geoffb

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Windows 2000 and Windows XP are an improvement compared to 95 and 98 but the operation of the system still degrades over time.

I see this at a micro level in friends' homes and at a macro level at work where we support a fleet of 500+ notebook computers.
 

teachingmyown

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The very idea of "changing" computers gives me shudders. I hate to contemplate getting used to a new system, or either moving or recreating the gazillions of files and links I have on this one. It's a Dell Dimension XPS T500 that I think was probably purchased sometime in '99. We've added memory to it and upgraded from Windows 98 to XP and hopefully it will last well into the forseeable future.
 

Keitht

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geoffb said:
Windows 2000 and Windows XP are an improvement compared to 95 and 98 but the operation of the system still degrades over time.

I see this at a micro level in friends' homes and at a macro level at work where we support a fleet of 500+ notebook computers.

Geoff,

We obviously have very different experience of the same operating systems. I manage a team supporting several thousand users. The only time we ever re-install the operating system is in the event of a hard drive failure or very occasionally when the operating system corrupts. I can probably count the instances of the latter on the fingers of both hands.
I stick by my statement that it should not be necessary for the operating system on a home machine running XP to be reinstalled.
 

huestous

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We've been in the mode of swapping out roughly every 5-6 years, but due to the price reductions of current systems versus upgrade costs.

For example, our oldest system now is a Dell XPS - an 850MHz processor originally running under Windows 98. I've upgraded memory and hard drives over time, but now the monitor is on the way out. And I suspect that rather than purchase a good flat panel monitor, I'll find a Dell deal that gives me a brand new computer wrapped around the same flat panel for ~$200 more than the monitor alone. So I'll buy the new CPU with the intent to recycle parts from the existing machine, realize that used 20G and 40G hard drives aren't worth the space they're taking up in the box, and end up chucking most of the old CPU. No real value in upgrading after a certain point.

Our experience with Windows XP is that it is extremely rugged.
Under Windows 98, I had to reformat every 6 months or so. Since running Windows XP, have never had a problem.
 

Icarus

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Reinstalling from scratch periodically is something that only super-advanced users should do. Especially if you install and remove lots of programs over time.

The normal user doesn't need to do that. I don't do it, but I try to manage the bloat that accumulates over time in other ways.

I also agree that the OPs problems sound more like software than hardware problems. What you have to do is start getting rid of programs that you don't need. Then research services and startup programs and turn off the ones you don't need, one at a time, using system restore points in case you screw something up along the way.

-David
 
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3kids4me

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Now that we have ipods and itunes, I think the worst part would be figuring out how to move my itunes list onto a new computer! (Is there an easy way to do this?)

Sharon
 

boyblue

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I would say that you should change your computer before you do any major repair or hardware upgrade. It's sort of like in for a penny, in for a pound. I've ended up changing everything on mine, Hard drive, Mother board, operating system. It's really a different computer that looks like the old one and that's no fun.
 

Clark

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When I retired almost 8 years ago I bought myself a new Dell with Windows 95, eventually upgraded to Windows 98

Used it until this year when I upgraded to a new Dell machine running XP. The old one was down to about 800 Megabytes of hard drive available and somewhat prone to crashing and every Windows Update took some more space.

DW said I "disappeared" for a month getting the new machine up and running and transferring files over and replacing the printer since my new Dell doesnt have a parallel port etc etc.

I still have the old machine, but it is waaaay to slow now that I have gotten used to the new one. 8 years might be too long ---
 

RonaldCol

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Bought My First Computer: the Sphere

I bought my first computer, the Sphere (around the time the Imsai was being sold). The Imsai was programmable with dip switches on the front panel. The Sphere didn't work at all. This was around 1974. The alternative was to buy a Digital minicomputer (the affectionately known POP 80). Since then I've bought well over 70 pcs or macs.

The utility value of a pc is well beyond it's initial cost of a few thousand dollars.
 

akbmusic

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Wow!

I never thought I'd get this much of a response, honestly. We had our system built from scratch because I wanted it to run some music recording/mixing software, as well as keep farm/business records straight and play computer games for the kids, so it isn't a name-brand pc. I never thought of going through all the programs we aren't using and eliminating them. I try to do that as we go, and remove the remnants with McAfee Quick Clean, but...
I had considered wiping the drive and starting over (something I used to have to do about every 8-12 months when we were running Windows 95 and 98), but that is one of my least favorite things to do! With working, it would take me a long night and/or a couple days to get everything back on that we use/need. :eek:
Think I'll try going through those little-used programs first!
 

DrQ

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geoffb said:
Windows 2000 and Windows XP are an improvement compared to 95 and 98 but the operation of the system still degrades over time.
Windows XP is a resouce hog and I would not recommend it for an old computer.

New hardware after 4.5 years would be a good step, the $/performance has gone down considerably. Dell has some good systems if you want to buy a package. I have started using laptops as opposed to a desktop since I have set up a WiFi network which makes it easy to be out with the family rather than holed up in my office. The new High Def laptop screens are awsome. I use a lot of open applications and the screen real estate of my laptop is better than my old desktop.

3 years is a good hardware refresh cycle. I just put together a high end system for a friend and the state of the art has changed significally in the year and a half since I put together my last system.

If you get a new system, opt for Windows XP Professional. It is more robust and handles software problems with more grace.
 

Kal

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I'm waiting for the release of the next generation computer hardware called "instant on". With this technology the operating system is instantly ready to go once you turn on the machine. Now, boot up takes time to copy info from the hard drive to cache. An "instant on" machine will use flash memory which has no moving parts. Same as memory in cell phones and digital cameras.

I have heard that Microsoft's new operating system "Vista" is designed to operate in an instant on mode once the hardware is available to the public.
 
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