Despite how often you hear about how long a laptop lasts, the amount of time they actually last may surprise you. Read on to learn more.
Why is this important to you as a business owner? The average cost of a new business laptop can be up to $3,000, so replacing older models can eat into your equipment budget. However, the last thing you want is your employees using outdated laptops that could fail and compromise your company’s information.
The Average Laptop Lasts ~3 Years
Most people have the mistaken belief that laptops should last for a minimum of three to five years before they need replacement because laptop manufacturers often suggest this time frame for their laptop warranty period.
However, the truth is that the average laptop only lasts for about three years at the maximum. Many products, including computers, are built with fixed obsolescence. They operate for a short while by design. So, if your employees are using a five-year-old laptop, they may be putting themselves and your company at a security risk.
While the average laptop lasts about three years, most business-use laptops will only last two. Top brands may last for five years with regular use. Most mainstream manufacturers (like Dell, HP, and Toshiba) include a three-year limited warranty with their laptops. The warranty doesn’t predict how long your laptop will actually survive, though.
Manufacturers ask, “How long should a laptop last?” and keep their guarantees within that time frame. The warranty is there to protect your laptop if something unusual goes wrong during the first three years. After that, manufacturers know the risk increases that a computer will develop problems.
Many factors can affect the answer to the laptop longevity question. A few reasons laptops don’t last as long as people think they should include the release of a new model, the number of laptops available, and user habits.
New Laptop Models Make Old Ones Obsolete
Many businesses purchase laptops from companies that have already started manufacturing a newer model, which means their older models will be phased out and won’t receive software updates anymore.
Variety Can Make it Harder to Get Laptop Repairs
So many different laptop brands are available today with varying quality levels. As such, it can be challenging to find one that lasts long-term or has good customer service when you need help fixing your broken machine.
User Habits Can Shorten Laptop Life
The third reason laptop lifespans tend to be shorter than most people think is how they’re used. To determine how long a laptop will last, you have to consider how well the user takes care of them.
For example, how much time does an employee spend on a laptop each day? Do they eat near it so crumbs can get beneath the keys? Do they handle it carefully? Are they able to download any software they want that can take up memory or pose security risks? Is there an antivirus program?
Furthermore, if they use it most of each day without letting it cool down or rest and aren’t careful with it, it will obviously break down faster than if they only used it occasionally.
How Long Do Desktops Last?
So if laptops only last between two and three years, what about desktops? The good news is that desktops tend to last longer. Desktop computers are made of more robust materials, which means there’s less chance of them breaking down. For this reason, most desktop computers will probably still be working after five years – how many laptops can say the same?
Another reason that desktops usually last longer than laptops is because of how often employees are using them. Since desktops are generally stationary, you don’t use them as much, which gives them frequent breaks to help the hardware components last longer. This also means they don’t get roughed up and bumped around in travel.
In addition, if one of the components fails, such as the keyboard or mouse, you can easily replace it with a new one. However, this is much more complicated with a laptop, which is why desktop computers tend to last longer than laptops.
How Often Should You Replace Your Laptop?
How do you know how often you should replace the laptops in your company? Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula to answer this.
You could replace older computers on a schedule to prevent failures and data loss, or you can watch for signs that laptops are nearing the end of their useful lives.
Some signs will usually emerge to warn you that it’s time to replace an employee’s laptop:
- You can no longer update the software.
- You are no longer able to connect to the internet or other devices on the network.
- Your computer is running hot, and it slows down or freezes.
- You have to bypass security software on your computer that keeps popping up when you try to use a specific program or connect to the internet.
- The hard drive on your laptop is no longer working effectively, leaving less memory storage space for new files and applications.
- Hardware components (keyboard, mouse, ports) on the laptop are failing.
To ensure that your employees’ laptops work well for as long as possible, here are some things you can do:
- Have your IT staff update any software on the laptop every time a new version becomes available. Don’t wait until the next major release comes out and let the current version sit there without updates when it needs them. You can also get additional help from a managed IT service.
- Consider investing in a laptop cooling pad to help regulate how hot it runs and how long it lasts before you need to have it serviced.
- If one component (such as the hard drive) fails, invest in a hardware component that has good customer support or a warranty so you can get assistance if it breaks down again in the future.
To sum up, the answer to the question of laptop longevity depends a great deal on how well you and your employees take care of them. If you maintain laptops properly, they may very well outlast their warranty period and give many years of service.
However, if you or your employees end up misusing them or not maintaining them at all, then your laptops could last only a year or two, or even less.
If you’re looking for personalized help in managing your company’s laptop or desktop IT needs, we can help. A one-stop managed service like Data Magic is the perfect solution for your company, no matter how big or small. Get in touch today for a free consultation, and let us help you with all of your IT needs.