You might to shocked to learn that the most reliable Chromebooks have an honest-to-goodness expiration date. Once that date is reached, it’s trash. The Chromebook will not get any more patches or updates.
If you’re Googling, “Do I need a new laptop?” or “Should I upgrade or replace my laptop?” the answer is probably yes. Tap or click here for my picks for the best Chromebooks and Windows and Mac laptops for every budget.
Let’s look at the clear-cut signs buying a new laptop is in your immediate future.
Sign 1: Your laptop is a slow poke
I’m not just talking about web pages taking a little longer to load. I’m talking about when your laptop takes 10 minutes to turn on. Maybe you’re running two programs at once, and everything slows down to a crawl.
A laptop getting slower is mostly a sign of age. Of course, it could also mean you have malware or hackers on your device. Here’s how to tell if your computer has been compromised.
Laptops slow down as their memory fills up and when multiple applications are running at once. Sometimes you can speed up a computer by upgrading the CPU and RAM. You could save yourself a lot of money by upgrading your hardware.
My rule of thumb: When the cost to upgrade or fix an old laptop is 30% of the price of a new one, buy a new one.
RELATED: Want to keep your computer running smoothly for a long time? Tap or click here for 7 essential maintenance tips to keep your laptop happy.
Sign 2: It’s hot
Laptops come with built-in fans to keep cool. You may have heard the fan whirring when your machine has been running for a long time. It’s trying to make the toasty device drop a few degrees in your lap.
Over time, these fans can get full of dust and debris – or they’re just worn down. When this happens, your laptop will still heat up, but now it can’t cool itself down.
Ultimately, this kind of heating up signifies that you should replace your laptop. If your computer gets hot enough, it will cease to function. Consistent overheating can even lead to breakage or even melting.
Sign 3: It’s a risk to use
Count your blessings if your laptop is more than 4 to 5 years old. One downside: Often, using an old machine is a considerable cybersecurity risk.
Software updates are critical for your digital health. Operating system updates come with new features that make life easier, but they also patch bugs that hackers exploit.
For example, you’re in danger if you’re still using Windows 7. Microsoft doesn’t update that OS anymore. Windows 10 or 11 get frequent updates, which means they have better cybersecurity protections.
Dig through your settings to see which OS you’re running. Research the latest update and see if your device can run it. If not, take this for what it is: One of the most prominent signs you need a new laptop.
Sign 4: Your screen or your keyboard is busted
Laptops are durable and made to take a beating. But even if you’re careful, accidents happen. Your screen might be missing a few pixels. It can also start flickering for no apparent reason.
Your laptop keyboard may be missing letters and numbers. Or perhaps certain keys no longer work at all. The trackpad may lose its sensitivity over time too.
Rather than replacing a laptop screen, you can save some money and hook an external monitor up to it. You could also do the same with a keyboard.
Unless your laptop is less than 3 years old, repairing a screen or a keyboard is usually not the best decision. Sell it and apply that money toward purchasing a new laptop.
Have a parent or grandparent who needs a little help with their computer? Tap or click here for five tips to set up a PC for seniors.
Sign 5: Your battery doesn’t hold a charge
Laptop batteries, like phone batteries, lose charge as you use them. Over time, your laptop will eventually need to be charged more often.
This can escalate to the point where you must plug it in all the time to work. For many people, particularly those whose only computer is a laptop, keeping it powered up isn’t that much of a hardship. Laptops should be portable, though.
Not sure how your battery is faring? Tap or click here to check on your laptop’s battery health.
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My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.
If you can solve this riddle, you belong in the FBI. Well, maybe. Plus, holiday smart speaker tricks, Amazon now allows you to pay with Venmo, Chrome is going away with Windows 7 and browser extensions that take over your searches.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
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