5 Signs Your Computer is on its Last Legs
Your computer is a powerful productivity tool – until it stops working. We rely so much on our computers that being without them even a day can be a real problem. When you consider how much of your life is stored on the computer – from family photos and videos to work documents and presentations, the situation looks even more dire.
That is why it is so important for computer users to watch out for early warning signs. Few computers fail out of the blue; they tend to provide their owners with warnings well ahead of time. Unfortunately, many computer owners do not recognize the early warning signs, and they fail to back up their data or take other appropriate actions. If you notice any of the following, it might be time to back up the files on your computer or even start shopping for a new one.
#1 – Software Problems
If you experience frequent freezes and crashes in your software programs, a hardware issue with your computer could be to blame. Bad sectors on your hard drive could cause programs to freeze and become unresponsive.
If the freezing is isolated to a single program, the issue is probably with the software and not the computer itself. If you experience crashes, freezes and other glitches with every program you use, it might be time to run diagnostics on the hard drive and back up your data.
Weird Hardware Malfunctions
Random hardware malfunctions can be signs of an impending computer crash. Things that seem disconnected, like a mouse that suddenly stops working or a monitor that suddenly displays weird blocks of data, could mean your computer is on its last legs.
If you experience any of these problems, the first step is to check the physical connections. A misbehaving wireless mouse could be a sign of computer failure, but it could also be caused by a weak battery or rough desk surface. A flickering monitor could indicate a problem with your hard drive, but it could also be caused by a loose cable. Checking the physical connections allows you to rule out obvious causes and delve more deeply into the problem.
#3 – Strange Noises
Over time, you should develop a feel for which noises are normal and which ones are out of place. If your usually quiet computer is suddenly defeaningly loud, something is definitely wrong. If you suddenly hear the fan running all the time, your computer could be overheating, and that is bad for its internal components.
A loud fan could mean that your computer needs a good cleaning. Dust and dirt builds up inside the computer case over time, and that buildup increases the heat inside the system. Opening the case and clearing the dust with canned air can alleviate the problem and save your system.
#4 – Boot Failures
If your computer fails to boot, even just once, you need to back up your data as soon as possible. Even a single boot failure could mean big problems for your computer. A failed operating system can instantly make your data inaccessible, even if the computer itself is still working.
Boot failures can also be caused by physical problems with your hard drive. Physical problems are the hardest to solve, so backing up your data is essential. If the hard drive crashes, it will be difficult if not impossible to recover the data it contains. Even if a data recovery service can get your information back, the cost to do so can be quite high. Backing up your data and buying a new hard drive is the best way to prepare for the inevitable failure.
#5 – Slow Performance
Slow performance can be a normal sign of computer aging, but a lack of speed can also be a sign of something more ominous. If your formerly fast computer suddenly starts acting sluggish, you may have a failing hard drive.
Running the built-in diagnostics on your computer is a good first step. Diagnostic programs can spot things like bad sectors and misallocated files, and you may be able to fix those issues and get more life out of the system. If the diagnostic program indicates an imminent failure, you will at least have enough warning to back up your files and buy a replacement drive.