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Do computers die from old age?

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Yes, I am asking it. Do computers die from old age?

Inquiring minds want to know. Contrary to popular opinion (namely my fellow Mac users in this office), I am a PC – a Dell PC, to be exact. A purchase made approximately in 2002.

I know most would stop me right there and say well there is your problem, but allow me to explain. It has been upgraded (some) with the addition of a fire wire (I can proudly say I installed myself) and several other add-ons as internet capabilities progressed. As a smart user, I have not one, but two external hard drives.

My problem – recently my “39-year old computer” as it is referred has decided to give me fits when connecting to the internet. I feel like I received a downgrade back to dial-up days. So, I basically have a glorified typewriter at this point. All my other applications seem to function properly.

There has been extensive troubleshooting by every tech guru I know (including family, friends, co-workers, strangers on the street!) I think I hold the most sympathy for those working in the tech department. (Maybe there is a little solace in knowing I’m not the only one that takes work home.) The Suddenlink repair man spent almost three hours one evening trying to track down my troubles. It was working fine, and one day it became sporadic. Web pages taking forever or never loading. It has been scanned for viruses.

The frustration is unnerving. I don’t even want to walk into the living room besides the fact that the floor is covered in wires reminding me of a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark with Indiana Jones when the tomb floor is covered in snakes.

The last tech support I spoke with asked me if I was near my PC. My reply was “yes, I am getting ready to dropkick it which I was saving as a last resort.” By his smirk, I’m sure seeing his expression would have been priceless. However, I was not in the mood.

I am three weeks into this problem and being a creature of habit, trying not to face the music.

Do computers die from old age?


Comments (1)Add Comment
written by a guest , November 29, 2012
Bought in 2002, I would assume your PC is running Windows XP. If the OS is any older than that, I think it's time for an upgrade.

Windows XP can be updated to Service Pack 3, and Internet Explorer 8.

I would assume that the PC came with either 128MB or 256MB of RAM. It may have been updated by now to 512MB or 1,024MB(1GB). If it does not yet have 1GB of RAM, I would recommend a RAM upgrade at the very least.

Updates to almost all popular software have increased their memory usage rates considerably, and what was OK 10 years ago is not quite enough anymore.

Finally, there are several things that can be done to speed up and repair internet browser issues, but if you are having problems that just can't seem to be resolved, it may be time to reload the OS. Get someone competent to back up your data, wipe the drive, and reload Windows. Be sure to record any product keys for software you have installed, and find all the CDs you can.

Drivers for the OS can be downloaded from Dell's website using your Service Tag#. Install the following programs to make your life easier (all free!):

- Microsoft Security Essentials (Antivirus is a must!).
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Helps to catch what the Anti-Virus doesn't).
- CCleaner from Piriform (Cleans out those pesky temporary internet files that fill up your drive, and provide a place for malware to hide).
- Adobe Reader (For PDF files!).
- Adobe Flash Player (For YouTube!).

Be sure to keep these applications up-to-date, and scan with Malwarebytes regularly. Always uninstall any application that shows up with "Toolbar" in it's name, these are assured to slow down your browser.

Avoid Norton security products. No one knows why, but they are SLOW!. Also avoid McAfee. Some people swear by it, but if Windows is broken, and you see McAfee, you can probably fix the problem by uninstalling it.

Finally, you are fortunate to have gotten this much time from your PC. If you spend a great deal of time in front of it, you should probably upgrade to a PC with a more modern OS. You probably deserve a new PC, and one of the younger members of your family may make great use of an older workstation. It is almost Christmas after all!

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