Across almost every industry, computers are essential to keeping a business operating smoothly. Computers improve employee efficiency, accuracy, and can speed up many work processes. As a business owner, knowing when to replace your work computer can be challenging.
If you wait too long, you can incur expensive support and service costs, and if you replace desktops and laptops too soon, you aren’t maximizing your original investment. So, how do you know when to keep or replace your older PCs? Let’s take a look at the average lifespan of computers, our recommended refresh cycle for a business, and key indicators a computer is starting to fail.
Average Lifespan of Computers
Like all electronics, computers will slow down and become less useful as they age. Environmental conditions, accidents, and normal wear and tear take their toll on both PCs and laptops, causing functional issues. Computers don’t last forever and having a replacement plan in place can help business owners plan for IT budget needs.
The average lifespan of a computer is typically three to five years. Desktop computers should last at least three years, and laptops, between three and five years. There are several factors that contribute to how long a computer will last for an employee including:
- Environmental factors: Computers require a cool environment to work properly. When they become overheated, the fans will kick on to try to cool down the internal components. The fans can draw dust and other allergens inside the computer which can clog up vents and prevent air from flowing freely. Computers that are used in factory environments tend to have a much shorter lifespan than computers in a cool, clean office space.
- Usage: One factor that contributes to your computer’s lifespan is the manner in which it is used. If you only use the computer for spreadsheets and word processing, you may be able to extend its life an extra year or so past the average lifespan of a PC. For more sophisticated tasks that require applications, you may find your older computer is slow and struggles to keep up with the increased processing demand.
- Unsafe cybersecurity practices: Nothing shortens the lifespan of a computer quicker than unsafe cybersecurity practices. Even the newest PC can die quickly if infected with malware or viruses. If you are a business owner, be sure to follow best practices for cybersecurity to ensure your computers – and your investment – are protected. Regularly install updates and patches for your computers’ operating systems and be proactive with cybersecurity training for your team. Many malware attacks are successful because of human behaviors.
At Everound, we recommend business owners adopt a 25% refresh cycle with their computer inventory rather than replacing all computers at the same time. Essentially, instead of purchasing new computers for all workstations at once, business owners can replace 25% of them each year. This cost-effective strategy allows for hardware capital expenses to be budgeted over four years instead of one.
Key Signs You Should Replace Your Computer
There are several key signs to watch for when considering if you need to replace your work computers including:
- Security is out of date: If your current computers are incompatible with newer versions of their operating systems, it may be time to invest in new computers. When the operating system is incompatible, important security patches and updates will not be installed on your PC. Check your Windows and Mac machines for OS compatibility to make sure your security is up to date.
- Increasing support costs: Are your team members consistently asking your go-to IT staff member for help troubleshooting issues? Even if this is an internal employee, there is a real support cost affecting your bottom line.
- Noisy fans: Are the fans on your computer constantly running? This is a key indicator that your computer is running “hot” and its internal components are at risk for damage. If you’re running the latest versions of an application or operating system, these could be maxing out your computer hardware, causing it to run warmer than usual.
- Applications take a long time to load: Applications may take longer on an older computer. If you’re running the most up-to-date version of an application, older hardware may not be able to keep up. Before installing software, check the compatibility to ensure it will work with your computer.
- Slowed productivity and lost time: According to a study by Intel, employees are 19% less productive on a PC that is older than 5 years. If your work computers cause an hour of downtime per day for a month, that equates to 20 hours per month. What is the value of that lost time?
If your PCs or laptops are experiencing any of the key indicators they need to be replaced, a managed IT service provider can help you determine the best path to replace hardware in a cost-efficient manner. Everound offers monthly managed IT service plans that help business owners assess and determine how to replace computers to maximize efficiency and productivity.
Everound for Your Hardware Needs
At Everound, we work with small businesses to large corporations on their IT needs including computer procurement, installation, hardware and software maintenance, and computer refresh plans. Our team of experienced IT professionals can help you determine the best course of action to keep your computers operating at peak performance. Reach out today for a free hardware assessment for your business. We focus on your IT, so you can focus on your business.