Let's be careful about using the word 'old.' Certainly your five-year-old refrigerator isn't old. Your five-year-old car certainly isn't old (you may have just finished paying it off!). Why is your 5-year-old computer considered a dinosaur?
One of the biggest factors to how a good computer goes bad is neglect. Some maintenance is needed to keep your IT investment in tip-top shape. This involves both physical and virtual maintenance. The physical maintenance is pretty straight forward - as time goes by, the inside of your computer becomes caked in a thick layer of carpet fibers, dead skin, and other inorganic and organic materials. Gross, right? That dust acts like a blanket, trapping in heat while your computer so desperately tries to keep these parts cool. Fans can get clogged and your computer's performance will drop drastically as components start to overhead. The solution? Dust out your computer with canned air and keep vents clear. Typically doing this once or twice a year is fine unless you are in a dustier environment, or if there are pets around, then you'll want to do this much more regularly.
The more complicated issue is the virtual maintenance. As programs are installed and uninstalled, and data is moved around, and even just typical day-to-day usage leaves a lot of extra junk that the computer needs to sift through every time it performs any basic action. This is where Manage My IT comes in. Our techs can run special tools that look for these extra bits of unnecessary data and clean them up. Sometimes though, the best solution is a clean install of Windows. This removes all the data and programs from the site and restores your computer to the original factory settings. This can take several hours, depending on how accessible your software is and how much needs to be installed and set up. For a small business that performs IT best practices, your invaluable company data should be stored safely on the server and NOT the computer anyway, although software still needs to be set up and configured.
Sometimes you can upgrade the computer to improve performance, but if the computer is more than a few years old, you could be better of getting a new one. It isn't as bad as it sounds though; a new computer doesn't cost the same as it did 5 years ago, and the performance leap is typically very generous. For machines that are only a year or two old that just need to perform better, upgrading and adding more RAM can speed things up. Depending on the components inside the computer, a CPU (processor) upgrade might be viable but sometimes the hardware might not support anything more, or the new part wouldn't be cost effective. The capabilities of standard business computers get better and better and the cost/performance ratio gets more attractive.
Looking to improve your computer's performance and see if it's worth upgrading or getting a new one? We can help. You may find you just need some regular maintenance to keep things running smoothly. Give Manage My IT a call at 888.505.2880 and we'd be happy to help!