How to Tell If a Computer Is Worth Fixing

by James Wright

Before repairing or replacing your computer, consider your current machine's capabilities as well as your budget. When repairs start to get expensive, or if your computer is old and has difficulty running modern software, it may be time to buy a new machine or at least buy upgrades for your current system.

Check Your Warranty

If your computer is still under warranty, you might be able to fix it for free. Check the terms of your warranty to look for the types of damage and problems the warranty covers. For example, your warranty may be void in the case of physical damage or if you attempt personal repairs. If you can fix your computer for free, it's worth it; you can't get a better price than that. If not, however, it's time to consider the costs of getting it repaired.

Analyze What's Broken

Depending on the type of problem your computer is experiencing, repairs may be inexpensive. If the problem isn't immediately obvious, take your computer to a repairman for evaluation. If you need to only reinstall your operating system, run an antivirus scan or replace inexpensive hardware, invest in the small repair and move on. If the problem is more serious -- for instance, if the computer needs a new processor and motherboard -- consider buying a new computer instead. Buying a new machine may be less expensive than repairing an old one.

Evaluate Your Computer's Capabilities

Before spending money on repairs, consider your computer's current capabilities. Older computers with out-of-date graphics cards, slow processors and little RAM will struggle to perform when it comes to gaming, watching videos or multitasking. You may even be unable to download software and operating system updates if your computer's specs are no longer adequate or if the software companies stop supporting older machines. If you use your computer only for basic tasks such as word processing or simple Web browsing, it will not become obsolete as quickly, but if you have a difficult time running the programs you need, it may still be time to update.

Upgrade or Buy New

If repairs are inexpensive but you still want a more powerful machine, then buy more memory, a better graphics card or a larger hard drive according to your specific needs. For example, if you have trouble running multiple programs at a time, buy a RAM upgrade. If you have 2GB installed, go for 8GB instead if your computer has the capacity. Upgrade your 250GB hard drive to a 1TB hard drive if you're running out of space. If you don't feel comfortable installing the parts yourself, paying someone to install them for you can still be cheaper than purchasing a new machine.

About the Author

Based in California, James Wright has been writing since 1998. Wright's articles have been published on various websites with a focus on technical fields such as computers and the Internet, and were also featured in a now-retired publication for an online artistic community. Wright studied English, journalism, politics and psychology at Riverside Community College.

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