If you’ve had your computer for a few years, you might be used to a few quirks — freezing, lagging, error messages and the lot — or you might simply find yourself frustrated. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s your hardware and not the software that’s acting up.
1. Everything Is Slow
You have a blazing-fast Internet connection, but loading your browser and visiting sites still takes forever. It could be that your old processor and lack of memory isn’t intended for the newest technology and large Web pages that you’re visiting. And when you open multiple windows or tabs? You know it’ll be slow going.
Laggy is your PC’s default state. Any program you open takes forever. You can’t run more than one thing at a time because you risk your computer freezing. So you avoid taxing your hardware and adjust your usage.
2. You Can’t Run New Software
If your existing software doesn’t run well, you can forget about trying new software. This is especially true of demanding photo editing software, and PC games require the most powerful processors and graphics card to run—smoothly at least. You’ll see that your computer doesn’t meet the requirements, so you can’t even install it. This can be frustrating if it’s something you need for work or school.
Of important note are new versions of your operating system, which add new functions and may be necessary to install for network security purposes.
3. You’re Out of Hard Drive Space
Although streaming is now common, you may have acquired TV shows and digital copies of movies that are filling up your existing hard drive — not to mention images, emails, text documents and program files. Once upon a time, a hard drive might have had less than 100 gigabytes. Now, new drives come with 50 or 100 times that capacity! Your old computer might not have any room for new data, and you may be seeing errors about that. Lack of space can also contribute to poor performance.
4. New Gadgets Aren’t Compatible
You’re excited about your new Apple Watch, Android phone or gaming mouse, only to bring it home and realize it’s not compatible with your computer. It may require software that won’t install, more hard drive space than you have or it might use a connection interface that your computer doesn’t even have because it’s so old. If you’re frequently returning new technology or find yourself looking for outdated peripherals that cost more than newer, more-powerful gadgets, it might be time to upgrade!
Some of these issues can be remedied with hardware upgrades. You can install a new hard drive or add memory modules. You can replace graphics cards, too. On desktops, it’s not a big deal to switch to a new monitor. However, there comes a point when your motherboard has been upgraded to the max or when updates simply cost more than buying a new computer. At that point, it’s time to upgrade.