4 Signs You Need a New Laptop
Last year, my daugther almost didn’t have a laptop to attend her HBL.
She was using a refurbished laptop at that time. I had purchased it specifically for her schoolwork. However, it broke down after 6 months of usage. I was almost caught off guard. I had overlooked the life expectancy of the electronic components in a refurbished laptop.
When she was using the refurbished laptop, it was generating an unusual amount of heat. To address the issue, I purchased a laptop cooling pad to reduce the heat before it causes the laptop breaks down sooner than expected.
Nevertheless, the dreadful day came sooner than expected. But, the good news was that I discovered the problem a week before the HBL. It was a relief to discover the problem early.
Laptop can show signs of trouble at any time. However, it usually happened when it is reaching its life expectancy. If you catch these signals early, you can quickly diagnose it and not be caught off guard.
A new laptop usually has a lifespan of 2 to 7 years dependng on the price. There is a correlation between how much you spend, and how long your laptop will last.
Pay attention to these 4 symptoms to avoid unnecessary anxiety during your child’s HBL.
1. Laptop Doesn’t Switched On
If your laptop won’t power on, even when it’s plugged in, it might be due to faulty components inside the laptop or you simply forgot to switch on the outlet power.
When performing computer troubleshooting, always start with the most simple check. In this case, we’ll start by checking the hardware or the cables.
4 Quick Checks
Here are 4 quick checks that will help you in your next stage of troubleshooting.
- Check that the plug to the power cord is plugged into an electrical outlet and to the laptop.
- Check the power connector to make sure the connection hasn’t come loose
- Check the power cord for any breaks that could disrupt the flow of electricity.
- Check the power socket on the wall or extension to make sure it is not faulty and there is electric current.
What can the power LED tell you?
After completing the above checks, examine the light indicator of the power LED on the laptop.
Power LED is Lighted Up
This indicates that there is electricity to the laptop and the laptop power adapter is working. Therefore, the hardware or the electronic components of the laptop are having problem.
An orange battery light means the battery is charging. A solid white light means the laptop battery has more than 80% charge.
Power LED has No Light
If there is no issue with the electricity to the laptop, it indicates that the laptop power adapter might be faulty.
You can perform a test by swapping the power adapter with a working laptop of the same model or brand.
What to do with faulty power adapter?
Some laptop power adapters have a power light indicator to indicate if it is operating. This makes troubleshooting easier. When there is none, you can’t tell if it is spoilt or working.
However, there are 2 easy way to found out.
- Swap and test the power adapters with another laptop of the same model or brand. If your laptop powers up with the working power adapter, it implies that your power adapter is faulty.
- Bring your laptop to the shop selling working laptop power adapter. If your laptop works with the working power adapter, it implies that your power adapter is faulty.
If the power adapter is faulty, you are better off to replace it then to buy a new laptop.
There are 3 options you can find a replacement for your power adapter.
If you opt to buy the power adapter from a phyiscal store, it is good to bring your laptop along. In this manner, you’ll be able to confirm whether your existing power adapter is defective and if the new one is working.
Used Power Adapter
You can buy a used power adapter at a cheap price from a reliable computer repair shop. When deciding between used and new power adapter, you’ll have to exercise your discretion. One of my trusted shop in Sim Lim Square is Rickytan.com.
Compatible Power Adapter
If you prefer a brand new power adapter, you can buy a compatible model with warranty from Unicell International at Kakit Bukit or Sim Lim Square. It will work perfectly. Compatible is always cheaper than the original.
Original Power Adapter
You can choose to buy an original power adapter from the laptop manufacturer. It usually cost more to buy the original. Nevertheless, there is no harm calling their support line to find out the price and do a comparison with the compatible model.
What to do with a faulty laptop?
If the laptop is still under warranty, send it to the nearest manufacturer’s service center for repair. Otherwise, check out the repair cost with the manufacturer and also from a trustworthy computer repair shop. Assess the repair cost and decide if you should buy a new laptop or go for the repair.
2. Laptop Battery Stops Working
On average, a laptop battery has a lifespan of between 2 and 4 years. Depending on the battery type, how you use the laptop, and how often you use your laptop will affect the total lifespan of the battery. Other factors include using demanding software applications, laptop constantly reaching high temperatures, or long periods of non-use.
When a laptop battery can’t hold a charge anymore, you can either replace it or just start relying on that power cable and electricity to keep you using the laptop.
You have 2 options if your laptop battery can be easily removed and replaced without opening up the laptop casing.
I advise against buying a used battery.
If you prefer a brand new battery but not ready to pay more, go for a compatible model. You can buy it from Unicell International at Kakit Bukit or Sim Lim Square. It will work perfectly. Compatible is always cheaper than the original.
You can choose to buy an original battery from the laptop manufacturer. It usually cost more to buy the original. Nevertheless, there is no harm calling their support line to find out the price and do a comparison with the compatible model.
For my Lenovo IdeaPad 1i (14”) budget laptop, I can’t change the battery without opening the laptop casing. Clearly, this is not a user upgradable task except by a computer technician.
After I had email to Lenovo Technical Support on such matter, I got a reply 2 days later. I have included a section of the reply here:
4. If incase, the machine ran out of warranty or if the issue is due to physical damage and you need to replace the part, we can arrange a quotation request so that you will be informed on the cost of repair.
Please be advised that this service request will be automatically closed by the system after 1 working day. Kindly reply to this email or contact our technical chat support.
Weigh the cost and time of the repair to decide if it makes more sense for you to buy a new laptop.
3. Laptop Getting Slower
In the course of my work as an IT System Integrator, I am often asked by users why their laptop seems to be working slower now. My immediate reply was to ask how old the laptop is.
When a laptop has reached its lifespan, my first suspect is usually the hard disk, which is the data storage device that lives inside the laptop. An average lifespan for a common hard disk called SATA is between 3 and 5 years. When a hard disk is nearing failure, it will behave very much like aging and begin to work slower. When this happens, you should immediately back up or copy out your data to avoid regrets.
You can either replace or upgrade the hard disk to a SSD. However, you may be better off buying a new budget laptop. But, only after you have determined and weighed the repair cost and time.
For my Lenovo IdeaPad 1i (14”) budget laptop, it comes with a newer type of hard disk called SSD, which has a lifespan of 10 years and has much faster performance. I probably can get a new one below $50. Unfortunately, I can’t replace it without opening up the laptop casing which will post a challenge to most of us.
If my hard disk ever becomes faulty, I would probably send it back to Lenovo for repair if it is still worth the while.
RAM, short for random access memory, is a memory chip found inside the laptop. It is one of the important components in determining your laptop’s performance. Usually, it is more durable but it does fail like any other electronic components.
When the laptop performance is degrading, it can also mean the RAM may be failing. The best way to determine if the RAM is failing is to install and run a RAM testing software like MemTest86. You can download and use it for free.
For my Lenovo IdeaPad 1i (14”), it comes with a soldered or embedded RAM making it an inseparable component and cannot be replaced. It will be inevitable for me to buy another budget laptop should my RAM become faulty.
Another frequent scene is when the laptop is left at the disposal of the child without parental controls.
Most children are oblivious to the danger of visiting malicious websites and installing free software serving as a gateway to advertising apps and pop-ups.
When malware begins flooding the laptop, sluggish performance begins invading the laptop.
The process to completely eradicate the malware is tedious and time consuming, and is best serviced by a competent technician at a premium fee.
An alternative and effective method is to reset the laptop to its original state when you first receive it. This method will drastically reduce your repair cost and time. However, you still need time to set up your laptop to your functional state.
Laptop performance affected by malware doesn’t warrant the need to buy a new laptop. Malware infection will continue to recur when parental control failed to be implemented.
4. Laptop Automatically Shutdown
Does your laptop constantly turning off at the exact few seconds after it is turned on? This symptom is usually caused by the hardware of the laptop. So, there is nothing much you can do except to have it examined by an experienced technician.
You can send the laptop back to the manufacturer or to a reliable computer repair shop for servicing. In either option, enquire about the service fee to perform the troubleshooting before committing.
Since a new budget laptop cost below $500, assess the feasibility of repair vs buy a new laptop.
If you can identify the 4 common signs of laptop failure early, you’ll have ample time to react and take precautionary measures instead of last minute panic.
When performing computer troubleshooting, always start with the simple check. Begin with the hardware and cables.
You don’t have to always buy the original laptop accessory to replace the faulty one. The compatible model will work as good as the original. It’ll also help you save cost.
When you are getting a new laptop power adapter from a physical store, it is always a good idea to bring along your laptop to test it.
Most low-end or budget laptops come with soldered RAM or internal memory which is an inseparable component and cannot be replaced. For such component, you can only replace the laptop.
If the laptop performance is affected by malware, it doesn’t warrant the need to buy a new laptop. However, you’ll need a competent computer technician to fix it. Fixing the malware without fixing the root cause only gives opportunity for another malware infection.
Always evaluate the feasibility of repair before buying a new one laptop. You can consider our 5 factors “Should You Repair or Replace Your Laptop” to help you in your decision.
Need help to search for a new laptop? Check out our blog on “Which Budget Laptop Is Best for Students?” which can be of great help to you.
Let me know what you think. If you find this blog post helpful, please share it with other parents or give a Like!