Repair or buy new laptop

Before repairing a laptop, people often ask whether it is worth fixing.  The price of laptop or other computer repairs may be in the hundreds. The price of a new laptop starts from $400 or even $300, so naturally, when the price of repairs exceeds $300, people tend to decide to buy a new laptop or Mac.

But there are hidden flaws:

Cheap laptops might be slower than your old computer. Cheap laptops from $300 are based on so called Atom processors. Performance of this CPU line may be even lower than the one in your mobile phone. In addition, they have less than 4 GB of operating memory, as well as a small screen and battery. You can still use a $300 laptop for checking emails or writing a blog, it might be okay to work with one document at a time and when travelling, small laptops are convenient. However, you’ll need a lot patience if you like to have a few applications or webpage windows open simultaneously.

The price of a reasonable laptop for office work starts from $600. And a laptop over $800 today will exceed the performance of one purchased 5 years ago for $1500.

The price of the new laptop does not include essential programs such as Microsoft Office and antivirus.

You may download free antivirus such as Microsoft Antivirus, yet there are shortcomings. Free antiviruses detect only the most common and simple viruses. Yet often I have to clean computers of viruses missed by free antiviruses.

Although almost all consumer laptops come with free Microsoft 365, it is only a trial.  Salesmen will tell you that ‘Yes this laptop has Office installed’, but in reality you will have to pay 3 months later.  Currently, Microsoft Office 365 is a $99 per year subscription.

From $70 per year for cloud service
Or $100 for regular suite including Word only or $220 including Outlook.

Additional actions and expenses required on top of the new laptop price, for one person or small business.
Updating Windows From 30 minutes to hours
Antivirus $30-$60, 15 minutes
Adobe Reader 5 minutes
Microsoft Office including Word and Outlook From 30 minutes to an hour of updates.
Transferring data from old laptop to new one From 30 minutes to hours
Setting up email accounts 10 minutes
Installing, registering and updating custom programs such as MYOB, Quicken 30 minutes. Require original license, installation CD or purchasing new license
Adobe Photoshop $100 – thousands
Other custom software such as AutoCAD, CRM.

Sometimes it is impossible to set up old software on new hardware at all. That is because programs may be incompatible with Windows 10 or the license for them lost.

I can recover licenses of some programs for you. It is possible to recover licenses for Microsoft Office, thus saving you hundreds.

It is also possible to transfer the system exactly as it was on the old computer, which is called hard drive image mirroring or cloning. So you will have new hardware with the same data, programs, look and feel. Although in this case, old issues and bugs will be transferred too. In addition, the system may experience issues with comparability with the new hardware. Thus, hard drive cloning is the last resort.

In a corporate environment, the combination of the software configurations is infinite. Implementation of software and configuring new laptops may require substantial effort, not justified by new computer advantages.

Although Windows should do self-maintenance automatically, in reality there are things you will need to take care of manually after purchasing the new system: Microsoft updates, particularly Microsoft Office may not start automatically. They may come with a delay of a few days, if at all, and may cause multiple issues.

An interesting situation is with manufacturer preinstalled applications on branded computers.

It seems that they are trying do good, for example by installing automated system updates, collecting some marketing data in the process to improve the quality of the service. But in reality, the manufacturer, even big ones such as HP or Dell, do not maintain their software bundles well. That causes issues later after the standard warranty expiries. Bundles may take a significant part of the system resources, steal internet bandwidth, interfere with other programs and leave holes in security. Bundles cause issues particularly during updates to new Windows such as Windows 10. The effect of bundles is not noticeable on gaming laptops or PCs, but on cheap laptops, removing them right after the purchase gives a significant boost to and flawless operation of the computer for years.