There's no set timeframe for the lifespan of a particular PC component. However, most motherboards, processors, hard drives, graphics cards, memory etc. should last a good few years.
Pre-built computers typically come with a two or three year warranty and most pc components will come with at least a one or two year warranty.
Your PC will be out of date after a while and you may want to replace it with newer and better technology long before you really need to replace it. That's fine but if you want to maximise the lifespan of your existing PC then read these top six tips.
One of the best ways to keep your computer going for longer is to keep it clean. This is a task anyone can do without any specialist knowledge. It's a lesser known fact that dirt and dust are big killers of components.
Air moves through your PC's case and brings with it dust particles which then build up and can slowly overwhelm your components. If dust builds up the fans inside your PC's case this makes them slower and less efficient. If the fans are running slower and this lets dust and dirt build up elsewhere and the various components aren't kept cool enough. And hotter components mean more stress and a reduced lifespan.
You should thoroughly clean your PC every 6-12 months. An ideal weapon to combat the dust and dirt is a can of compressed air.
See also: How to clean your PC and its components.
The temperature of your PC is important in relation to its life expectancy. Keeping the inside of your PC clean, particularly your fans, is a great start but those fans won't work to the best of their ability unless your computer has good ventilation.
Make sure your PC has plenty of space around it for good air flow and avoid putting it inside a cupboard or near anything hot like a radiator.
Your PC is made of circuits and components which are sensitive to electricity so any electrical power surge could damage some of your computer's components or even damage your entire PC so that it no longer starts up. If you've spent lots of money on building your PC set up or buying one pre-made, it's well worth splashing out just a little more on a surge protection device.
Surge protectors are available with different ratings and are useful for PCs, laptops and other electronics . They are also a handy precaution when charging your smartphone or tablet.
See also: The Need for a Surge Protection Device.
Everything is stored on your PC's hard drive(s) but they can become corrupt with file system errors and bad sectors due to things such as improper shutdowns and crashes. Damaged files, system instability, blue screens and boot failures are bad, so take care of your hard drive to avoid any disappointments.
Always shutdown your computer properly and avoid unnecessary stress by switching it off when it's not being used. Any corruption can normally be found and a repaired by running the Check Disk tool which is built into Windows. This tool is more for users of Windows 7 and earlier as Windows 8 has improvements to error handling.
So far all of the tips to prolong the life of your PC were hardware related but don't forget that you also need software protection too. There are literally hordes of people out there happy to take advantage of your unprotected system. And viruses and malware can slow your machine right down to a crawl and in some cases even encrypt your hard drive until you pay a hefty ransom.
Any kind of intrusion is going to be bad so do yourself a favour and get some decent anti-virus software. There are plenty of free ones so there's really no excuse.
See also: The Best Free Antivirus Software.
In addition to an anti-virus program you should also download a program that can tackle malware and spyware. A really good program for this is the highly rated CCleaner.
This free program scans your PC's registry for unwanted, corrupt paths and gives you the option to make a backup before cleaning begins. The backup is a simple .reg file - you just have to double click it to bring back your deleted registry keys.
CCleaner does a whole lot more than just clean out your registry it finds and clears all your Windows Temporary Files and removes your browser or start menu run histories, cookies and a whole lot more.
It runs in all flavours of Windows, including Microsoft's latest operating systems Windows 7 and Windows 8.
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