Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Most Important Sign that a Computer Has a Problem

One of the most common things to consider when it comes to owning computers, laptops and tablets, is when they need to be replaced. Nobody wants to replace a perfectly good device they could easily have used for another year or longer. It makes far more sense to wait until a new device is actually necessary. Not only does this save money, but it saves time setting up a new device and prevents electronics from filling landfills faster.

So how do you know what to do when? Waiting until a device crashes is obviously not the best answer. Recovering programs and documents is much more time consuming than planning ahead and migrating to a new machine. Compare it to losing your wallet. Do you know exactly how much cash you had? What credit cards and other identification did you also lose? Do you know the company phone numbers so you can report them missing? Is there a plan for replacing everything that was lost?

The answer is most likely not exactly. Which is the same answer you likely have for a lost or crashed computer. Rather than waiting until it is too late, or risking replacing a device too soon, use the most important sign that a computer has a problem as your guide to when it is time to begin looking for a replacement.

The Most Important Sign that a Computer Has a Problem

Many things can happen as a device gets older. You may experience:

  • Software and applications that can no longer be updated, this includes web browsers
  • Sluggish response times
  • An operating system that fails to update
  • Device crashes
  • Failure to install software upgrades as the hardware does not meet the minimum requirements
Each of the issues listed above can be very frustrating but some can be fixed fairly easily. For instance, adding storage often frees up enough resources to install new software and adding memory typically increases response times. However, not all issues can be addressed this easily. 

There is one sign that is important to take notice of for any computer, laptop or tablet: when its behavior changes drastically over a short period of time. Perhaps the device runs hot all the time, crashes daily, memory is always maxed out or documents become corrupted. Whatever the change is, if it is a sudden or dramatic change, addressing the issues quickly is important.

Any dramatic change on a device is the one sign that something is definitely wrong. Some common things you can try if this happens are:
  • Running anti-malware software to check for viruses, spyware, and other malware and remove those objects if they are found 
  • Uninstalling any newly installed software or applications
  • Backing up all important files to another device
  • Checking the installed programs list for programs you did not install or new installs that may be causing the issue
  • Removing operating system updates that may be conflicting with other software
  • Looking at the startup folder for rogue programs and disabling them
Whatever is causing the issue, it is in your best interest to find out what it is and fix it as quickly as possible. 

Most of the issues listed at the beginning of this post are things that can be expected as a device gets older. They do not represent things that should be alarming, however the more of them you experience, the greater the likelihood you should consider replacing a device. When a device begins behaving erratically or vastly different than normal in a short period of time, the chance that something wrong is going on is greater. 

As always, there are things that will happen with computers as they age, but knowing when to be alarmed is key in maintaining security and preventing file loss.

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