How Long Can A Laptop Last?

How long a laptop lasts depends on a number of factors, but on the average, the usual number is somewhere around 4 years. However, if that answer is sufficient then one is not very serious about the question.

This article is written with a 20 year old laptop; still functioning great, with no complaints at all. There is so much more to the issue of laptop longevity than most people realize. There are personal factors, technology factors and economic factors which all influence the longevity of these machines we love so much.

Even when an answer is obtained, it is still an average figure, meaning that some will surpass it, while others will not even come close. No doubt, most people would rather surpass the average lifespan- they want their laptops to last. But first, it still has to be determined…

How Long Can A Laptop Last?

As mentioned above, most people tend to use their laptops for an average of 4 years. However, average is for average people, and so others inquire as to the true lifespan of their laptops. The following are things to know.

Planned Obsolence

Do laptops have planned obsolence?” All evidence points to this being the case. However, the method which is being used to enforce this obsolence seems to be consumerism. In order words, through aggressive marketing, people are encouraged to dump their old laptops for newer ones.

This is true even when the old laptops are functioning great. They recognize the fact that people can get attached to their laptops, and also that careful handling will mean that the machines do not have any physical faults.

How do they enforce planned obsolence?

New Operating Systems

Have you ever wondered why new operating systems have to be released every year? What is even the point of having so many operating systems? Besides, most of these operating systems only have updated aesthetics, and sometimes, more intense graphics.

Newer operating systems, as a result of the more intense graphics often need more computing power, and more physical memory.

This seems counterproductive because while more computing power and physical memory are good, it seems rather stupid to waste those on something as trivial as display graphics which one only sees when the laptop is freshly powered up.

Yet, these operating systems are pushed upon the ordinary people who think having fashionable graphics on their computers makes them better people.

Sometimes, it is not just about the operating systems, it may be about the price.

Laptop Prices Matter

This is a less travelled route, but laptop makers still make cheap laptops which are built with inferior materials. Cheaper materials generally do not last as long as the more durable ones and as such the laptops are designed to be replaced with a year or two.

Within a year or two, a plastic laptop should be broken on impact, failing that the low quality hinges should have separated, or loosen so badly that the screen cannot be held in place. The screen too should be cracked; this could happen of any impact to the thin plastic.

To avoid spoiling the brand, they always shout at the top of their voices that the laptops are “Low end,” and even the paint and branding show this.

The paint should fade so badly within a year that the laptop looks old and unfashionable. That way, the user is forced to buy another one because the old one is no longer presentable.

But in the hands of some people, even low end laptops will last quite long. That is because…

Laptop Handling Matters

Just like any other item a person might purchase, how long a laptop can last will depend on how it is used. In fact, handling may be the biggest factor affecting a laptop’s longevity.

For example, when a laptop is not moved around too frequently, it is not likely to be damaged from impact resulting from banging it against hard objects. Careful handling also includes carrying a laptop is a proper laptop bag whenever there is need to move it around.

Avoiding drinks and other liquids on the table where the laptop is used is another common sense precaution which can go a long way in ensuring that a laptop lasts as long as possible.

Regular cleaning; including blowing air through the air vents will also ensure that the laptop’s hardware continue to function properly.

But it is not only hardware that makes a laptop work; the software is just as important.

Software Safety

Software is just as important as it is vulnerable. As a matter of fact it seems more difficult to protect software than it is to guard against hardware damage. Viruses are a major cause for frustration among computer users; they do all sorts of damage to a computer system or a computer network.

One type of damage they do is slow systems down, causing them to overclock in order to perform even the most basic tasks.

In order to remove these viruses, people often need to reinstall the operating systems. Often times, they are told to reinstall with the newest operating systems as the world has simply “moved on” from the one they used previously.

Viruses therefore force people to buy new laptops because will not be compatible with the older laptops, even when the laptops still have very hood hardware, and can probably last many more years.

What is the solution?

How To Make Your Laptop Last Long

Limit internet use. In fact, commercial cold storage data sites are not connected to the internet at all. If a laptop is going to serve as a workstation, or a data storage device then it should also be a kind of “cold storage facility” meaning it gets little or no internet link. That way, it will have fewer virus attacks, and the software will last longer.

Don’t Move It About. Laptops can get dented or broken when moved about a lot. They can also have internal components dislodged, or fractured as a result of impact. Even if the laptop has to be moved about, it should be done carefully and respectfully.

Regular Cleaning. This will help remove dust and debris which tends to build up in a laptop; potentially compromising the cooling system, and making the internal components vulnerable to burning out.

Can A Laptop Last 10 Years?

There is plenty of evidence that a good laptop can last for more than 10 years. This article is written with a Compaq Presario C300 which was manufactured around 2005.

As at 3rd February 2024, the laptop is at least 19 years old. That is not a world record; not nearly!

Yes, this laptop has had its operating system upgraded (Windows 7), it has had its memory changed (2 Gig), and it has had a new DVD Drive. Nevertheless, the laptop does not hint at tiring anytime soon; it could be in use for another 5 years.

Further Reading:


How long can a laptop last? As long as possible! With proper care a laptop can last 15 to 20 years, and can give minimal trouble through the years. Of course, it will not last forever, but at least one can get good value for money, and avoid the hassles that come with a failing laptop.

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