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Is it time for a new PC?

In these lean times, itís tempting to hold off on replacing computer equipment as long as possible. At the same time, an old computer will slow you down, make you less productive, and provide you with less effective help at a time when hiring an assistant is a luxury. So how do you decide if itís the right time to buy a new computer?

Consumer Reports publishes an annual overview of what they call "repair or replace" timelines for many common appliances, including computers, and the results may surprise you. In general, it isn't worth repairing computers Ė laptops or desktops Ė that are more than three years old or so. In our business, we find that almost no computers that are five or more years old are cost-effective to repair versus replace, although we honor many clients' wishes by repairing their older computers anyway. Why is this the case?

Regardless of the age of your computer, various programs that are vital to your business will be upgraded on an ongoing basis. These include QuickBooks, anti-virus software, Microsoft Office programs, and Windows itself. Even web sites become more multimedia-centric as time goes by, which taxes aging computer systems. If your computer slows down, it slows you down. If your computer is healthy and fast, you will be more productive.

So if you have a five or six year old computer, or even older, consider replacing it and seek professional help to make sure all of your vital data gets transferred. If you have a newer computer, it should be possible to clean it up, perhaps upgrade the memory, and get you back up to speed. But donít keep suffering with a slower, older computer that gets in the way of getting your work done.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

     -- Arthur C. Clarke