Does it seem as if you just outfitted your office with new computers a year or two ago? And you don't have the budget to upgrade? Try upgrading memory or RAM, defragging your hard drive, and other techniques.
Compared to years past, personal computers are dirt cheap. Ten years ago, the big pricing breakthrough came with the era of the “sub $1,000” computer. Now, that’s the mid-range price point between the high end models that start at $1,500 and up and the increasingly more common sub-$500 PC.
So why would a small or mid-sized business owner even give a second thought to just upgrading the company’s computers? Two reasons come to mind. First, the economy is shaky and uncertain. Second, while a $500 computer may sound like a matter for petty cash, it adds up fast when it’s multiplied by dozens, if not hundreds of employees.
Computer experts like Dan Gookin, author of PCs for Dummies give the average computer an expected lifespan of four to six years before requiring replacement. For those business owners watching their bottom line closely these days, here are some tips to stretch those PCs from four years and closer to six.
Gookin recommends taking the following steps:
Business owners know it’s time to bite the bullet and buy new computers when the old ones either no longer work or work so slow lost productivity becomes a greater expense than just buying a new system.
While adding more memory is the most obvious way to speed up the older machines around the office, there are other relatively simple maintenance checks that will pump up your PC’s, as well.
Clean up the registry editor. You know it’s bad when you hit the on button in the morning, go down the hall for coffee, check the mail, say good morning to your colleagues, return to your desk and the operating system is still booting up. Chances are the computer has too many programs in the registry editor firing up during boot up and thus slowing down start-up.
Defragment your hard drive. Think of all those thousands of files sitting on your hard drive as books sitting on a shelf. A file gets used and then re-shelved back with the others not quite as tightly packed in and with tiny gaps left between each one. “Defragging” the hard drive means taking out those fragments or gaps between files, similar to pushing all the books back together tightly on a shelf leaving more room on the shelf for future additions.
When you do buy
Eventually, all businesses have too. Again, the maximum lifespan to expect out of any PC is about six years. So when that day arrives: invest in desktops where it makes sense. Laptops get more wear and tear faster due to their portability.