Do I repair or buy a new computer?

Before repairing a computer, people often ask whether it is worth fixing. The cost of a laptop / computer repairs may be in the hundreds. The price of a new cheap laptop starts from $400, so naturally, people tend to decide to buy a new laptop.

Reasons to buy a new computer

The price of a reasonable computer for office work starts from $500. And a laptop over $800 today will exceed the performance of one purchased five years ago for $1500.

Reasons not to buy

Cheap laptops might be slower than your old computer. Cheap laptops from $300 based on cheap processors. Performance of that CPU may be even lower than the one in your mobile phone. Also, 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 school homework, it might be okay to work with one document at a time, and when travelling, small laptops are convenient. However, you will need a lot of patience to work with a few windows open simultaneously.

Price of the computer software

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

You may download free antivirus software. But free antiviruses detect only the most common viruses and may create problems itself as it makes money with marketing. 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. A shop will tell you that 'Yes this laptop has Office installed', but in reality, you will have to pay three months later. Currently, Microsoft Office 365 is a $99 per year subscription or $250 outright.

Additional expenses on top of the new computer price
programs to install and taskstime and money
Updating WindowsFrom 30 minutes to hours
Antivirus$30-$60, 15 minutes
Adobe Reader5 minutes
Microsoft Office including Word and OutlookFrom $100 per year, From 30 minutes to an hour of updates.
Transferring data from old computer to new oneFrom 30 minutes to hours
Setting up email accounts10 minutes
Installing, registering and updating custom programs such as MYOB, Quicken30 minutes. Require original licence, installation CD or purchasing new licence.
Adobe Photoshopfrom $30 per month
Other custom software such as AutoCAD, CRM.

Transferring old software on new computer

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

Manly Electronics can recover licences of some programs for you. It might be possible to recover licence 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 transferred too. Also, 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.

For example, although Windows should do self-maintenance automatically, in reality, 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 computer makers are trying to be 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, computer manufacturers do not maintain their software bundles well. That causes issues later after the standard warranty expires. 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. 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.

13 August 16  Tags:  Computers