Your broken computer: repair or replace?

Broken computerYour computer is broken. Maybe it crashed and burned, maybe you threw it out the window. In either case, you’ve got problems beyond your ability to solve.

When you’re in this predicament, how much time and money should you invest in repair? Something quick and easy may be worthwhile, but with prices lower than ever, for anything more complex you may be better off with a replacement. But how do you know?

A few general guidelines:

  • If your computer is more than three years old, a replacement will give you a huge performance boost as processors and memory and overall capabilities increase every year. For laptops, consider a replacement after two years if it’s out of warranty.
  • Replace a broken CRT with a new LCD monitor. Don’t even think twice about this one.
  • If you hear a clicking sound, it’s likely a bad hard drive. If your backups aren’t up-to-date and you care about your data, turn off the computer and take it to a repair shop immediately.
  • Many problems are caused by software rather than hardware. Try a full virus and spyware scan before you give up.

For anything else that’s not obvious, consider a diagnostic visit to find out more. Unless your hard drive has gone bad or a virus has run rampant, you can usually recover your data and transfer it to a new computer.

When you do a diagnostic visit, keep in mind that you can spend less than $500 on a new computer, and basic laptops don’t cost a whole lot more. Data transfer, if you have professional help, will add to that cost. Regardless, keep replacement costs in mind when investigating repair options. Labor charges add up all too quickly.

What do you do with the old one? Read about how to recycle your old computer here.

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