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  • Writer's pictureNorm McLaughlin

Repair, Replace or Upgrade Your Computer?

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

computer repair brisbane
What should I do about my computer?

Do you have an issue with your computer and you're wondering whether it's worthwhile to have it repaired or whether it's time for a new machine? You may not have considered it, but there may be a third option, which would be to upgrade your existing computer. In fact, an upgrade is likely to be significantly less expensive than the purchase of a new computer and is likely to improve the performance of your computer beyond how it performed when you first purchased it.

Just last week I was informed by a client that her daughter had advised her that she needed a new computer because she was experiencing a blue screen error. In reality, many issues which may seem terminal are in fact not terminal at all. They may even be repairable in less than an hour without the need for any new hardware. Blue screens of death (BSOD) aren't necessarily the end. This is also the case with many other computer issues.

Let's take a look at opportunities you may have to either repair or upgrade your computer, before we look at what to consider when replacing it with a new machine.

Repair Your Computer

As just stated, many issues which appear serious may in fact not be as serious after all, and may not be terminal to the life of the computer. Obviously, as a computer repair professional, I would generally recommend that you explore a repair of your computer before writing it off and choosing to replace it.

Sometimes your computer may not switch on at all and you may assume it has reached the end of its life. However, very often, whether you’re experiencing this issue or something else, it’s likely that just a single element in your computer has failed.

For example, you may have a desktop tower computer which doesn’t power on. In this case, it's possible that all that's required is a new power supply unit, which isn't expensive at all. Or, if it's a laptop, it's possible that your battery or your mains adapter simply needs to be replaced. Perhaps your computer powers on but doesn't boot into Windows. In this case you may need a new hard drive or possibly even just a fresh installation of Windows on your existing hard drive. In the latter case you wouldn’t even require any new hardware.

In a scenario where a computer powers on but with no output to the display, I would very often begin my troubleshooting by simply reseating some of the components, such as the memory (RAM) modules and the graphics card. Sometimes even disconnecting and reconnecting the connections from the power supply to the motherboard will resolve the issue.

Whatever the circumstances, if there’s something wrong with your computer, there's very often a solution which would mean that you don't necessarily need to go ahead and replace your computer with a new one.

Upgrade Your Computer

An issue with your computer may actually present you with an opportunity to upgrade the machine. As a result, you would end up with a computer which performs even better than the one which went faulty in the first place.

One of the most common upgrades I carry out on broken computers is when the computer no longer starts up due to a hard drive failure, or has become extremely slow. In these cases, especially if it's an older computer, an upgrade of the hard drive, assuming it’s an ageing SATA hard drive, is a great solution. The drive will have slowed down (or failed) through years of use and can be readily replaced with a Solid State Drive (SSD) which typically operates ten times faster.

Other problems with your computer may be resolved by replacing one or more RAM modules, your graphics card, or even your motherboard. Once again, each of these issues presents you with an upgrade opportunity. You may choose to increase your RAM, to install a more powerful graphics card, or to replace your motherboard with a more up-to-date unit. In the latter case you could also upgrade your processor (CPU) to a more recent version.

One point worth noting is that it's often much easier to repair or upgrade older computers, particularly desktop tower computers. Because of the way in which they are assembled, some of the newer devices effectively cannot be repaired or upgraded at all. As an example, if something goes wrong on the inside of a Microsoft Surface Pro laptop, it’s not possible to disassemble the device and replace parts. The assembly of the computer doesn’t consist of discrete parts and so it’s not possible to replace the constituent parts. This would apply to Microsoft Surface Pro laptops, and also to the newer Apple MacBooks and to other modern devices. These devices are simply not manufactured with the expectation of their ever being repaired or upgraded should they fail.

Because of the way in which many of the modern devices are manufactured, it’s worth keeping in mind that the storage may be built in to the system board/logic board, as it is with a tablet, iPad or mobile phone. As a result, a failure of the device is likely to result in loss of your data. Older computers have discrete storage in the form of a hard drive or an SSD. In the event of a failure of the main board, the storage can be removed and the data retrieved. This is not the case with modern devices using storage which is a constituent of the motherboard. As a result, it's more important than ever to keep your data backed up, whether to cloud storage, or to external media, or elsewhere.

Replace Your Computer

So you’ve decided to go ahead with replacing your computer, rather than having it repaired or upgraded. One thing I would suggest is that very often you don't need to spend as much as the high street retailers will encourage you to spend when you go to look for a new computer. I find in the course of working with clients and their computers that many people have computers with a specification which is well beyond what they actually need. This is very often because they’ve been persuaded by a sales assistant to purchase a more expensive machine than was their intention.

I would also encourage you not to just jump in and buy other extras which high street retailers will encourage you to purchase with your new computer. For example, they may try to persuade you that you need antivirus software which they will be selling at a potentially exorbitant price. In my own view, an antivirus subscription isn't necessarily a requirement at all, despite what those wanting to sell it to you may tell you. I've had a number of clients in recent weeks whose antivirus software was causing them difficulties, such as blocking emails and legitimate websites.

It’s highly unlikely that your computer will become infected with a virus if you're careful about what links you click on, particularly in email attachments. You should also be careful about which websites you visit and about downloading freeware. When you download something to your computer it’s possible that something else comes along with it. If you take care with these considerations, you may find that you don't actually need antivirus software at all. Not only that but Windows 11 contains advanced antivirus software as a component of the operating system, as indeed does Windows 10.

In Conclusion

So there you have three options when something goes amiss with your computer. You can choose to have it repaired, it may present an upgrade opportunity, or you may decide it's time for a new machine. I can assist you with any of the three scenarios and I offer a wide range of computer support services in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and the Redlands. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you require assistance.

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