Laptops are supposed to last 3 to 4 years. That is the general rule of thumb. However, there are other signs to tell you that you’re due for another trip to an offline or online computer store. Make the most of your laptops and watch out for these ominous signs before deciding to get a new one.

1. Frequent overheating

The internal fan of a laptop needs to be cleaned at least twice a year. Failure to do this, especially if you use your laptop in a very dusty place, would cause dust to accumulate inside, enough to interfere with the fan’s ability to regulate the temperature.

When your laptop heats up fast and often, or the fan starts blowing loudly, it is a sign that you have to get it cleaned. You can turn it off and on again or blow on the air vents using compressed or canned air until you can bring it to a service centre.

If cleaning does not solve the issue, have the fan replaced, that is if a compatible spare is still available. Otherwise, you may need to get a new laptop altogether.

2. Keys not working properly

When the keys on your laptop start sticking or stop reacting when pressed, it is possible that something is restricting its movement. This might be caused by crumbs or other similarly small particles that got under the keys. Turn the keyboard upside down or at an angle, then give it a slight shake to possibly jar the restriction loose. If this does not work, bring the laptop to a service centre for cleaning or keycap replacement, if needed. Again, if the parts available no longer matches your laptop model, you can either get an external keyboard or replace your laptop.

3. Declining performance

If your laptop becomes sluggishly slow when switching between windows or when multiple windows are open, or freezes and becomes totally unresponsive, it could be bogged down by virus or malware. Try running antivirus or anti-malware software.

Slow boot-up is another performance issue. You can disable automatic startups of apps and programs, run defragmentation, or update your operating system.

If these fail, your laptop may be running out of memory. Operating system upgrades require more memory, and you may need to upgrade your RAM or switch to SSD if possible. Otherwise, start looking for a new laptop on an online computer store.

4. Failing hard drive

A laptop that crashes more than once a month is at risk from a failing hard drive. This could be caused by overheating, water damage, static electricity, or impact. Loud clicking or grinding noise when saving or opening files, corrupted data, sudden reboots, or the blue screen of death is another indication that mechanical parts of the hard drive are about to fail.

Start backing up your files if you encounter any of these, and look for a replacement hard drive or laptop.

5. Failing battery

Laptop batteries naturally degrade over time and need replacement every 2 to 3 years. If it stops charging or dies quickly, you may need to get a replacement battery. Some laptops, though, have integrated batteries that could not be replaced. In this case, or if a compatible spare is not available, you may soon need to visit an online computer store for a new laptop. 

6. Outdated graphic cards

Try running Minecraft and other games not so graphically intensive. If your laptop could not run them properly, then the graphic card of your laptop is outdated. The graphic card of a laptop, however, could not be replaced separately, unlike a desktop’s. You have to get a new laptop with an updated graphics system.

Looking for a replacement laptop can be a nightmare for some people. The sheer volume of information available could freeze anyone to indecision. Try to avoid this, at least temporarily, and prolong the inevitable by vigilantly waiting for the signs of laptop failure before deciding to get a new one.