Accidents happen. Luckily, it doesn't always mean you need to buy a new computer. As an electrical item, liquid spills are a big problem. This could be anywhere from a spill on the keyboard, going overboard with the screen cleaning spray or even a flood. Laptop users need to be careful when choosing their work surface, as cafes and kitchen tables can have liquid left behind. If you’re lucky and the liquid didn’t fry the circuits, corrosion is still likely, as is stickiness that could gum up internal parts. Also, a dropped computer isn’t good or even one that has been knocked around. Even a light thump of frustration can cause loose cables, disconnections and internal damage.
Computer parts have an expected lifetime, especially moving parts like fans or mechanical hard drives. Some computers can run 24/7 for up to a decade, while others barely make it past their warranty. When age is the issue there are usually warning signs like different noises or slowness. The actual ‘break’ normally happens when you go to turn the computer on and either it makes a big effort to turn on before giving up, or nothing happens at all. With age it is the luck of the draw with how it was manufactured, and quality does play a big part in how long your computer will last.
Electricity is not a constant stream; it varies. Computers are particularly sensitive to both surges (too much electricity) and brownouts (not enough electricity). You might notice the lights dimming or flickering or them glowing a little more than usual. These variations never last long, and they’re not something you can control unless it’s just your house (it’s worth checking with your neighbors), but they can easily break your computer. A surge protector can guard against mild increases in voltage, but brownouts and strong surges will still cause damage.
Overheating is a big factor in premature computer death. Some computer parts run hot and need plenty of cooling to keep them working. Internal components can build up heat that needs to go somewhere. When your airflow vents get blocked with dust or pet hair, the temperature continues to increase until components literally bake themselves. At a certain temperature, the computer will automatically switch off to try and cool down, however the more often this happens and the higher the temps, the more likely your computer is to die.
Hard Drive Failure
Your data is stored on a hard drive, and if you’ve got a mechanical hard drive (most people do), it works a bit like a record player with a spinning ‘platter’ and a needle that reads the data. Small bumps, liquid, age, surges and overheating can all cause a hard drive failure. Along with making your computer unusable, hard drive failure means your data is also lost. While sudden breakage might leave you surprised, take note of any strange noises or repeated crashes and back up your data in advance.
Like a car, your computer needs to be serviced. We can check your computer both physically and its software to make sure it's running right and will keep on working for you. Give us a call at 937-660-4899.