Laptops

General discussion

Life of a PC laptop

by colleenmarie2 / November 11, 2008 5:15 AM PST

Hi all,
I have a Toshiba Satellite that I bought in 2004, and I've been thinking about upgrading to a new macbook. What is the average lifespan of a PC laptop? I use mine everyday for school and work, and it just seems like it is wearing out. I've heard anywhere between a year and five years, so just wanted to get a general opinion before really searching for something else. Thanks!

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Life of a PC laptop
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Life of a PC laptop
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Between 3 and 5 years I'd say is realistic
by Steven Haninger / November 11, 2008 7:35 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

but there are two ways of looking it this. One is how long before it dies and the other is its useful life...that is, how long before it's more of a pain than a help for what you want to do. My son has a Gateway we got for him when he went to college in 1999 that still works fine but came with Windows 98 and isn't going to run XP or current applications. It's alive but largely useless.

Collapse -
I agree.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2008 8:08 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

Laptops may be short lived but you can extend that by the yearly cleaning of the vents, heat sinks and by being gentle with the unit. Drops, slams, and liquids are the next most common sources of damage.
Bob

Collapse -
How do you clean your laptop?
by mynond / November 14, 2008 1:17 PM PST
In reply to: I agree.

How do I clean my laptop?

Collapse -
Clean my laptop?
by Tay41988 / November 14, 2008 11:47 PM PST

I've also had a Toshiba Satelite since 2006. It still works great but I worry about the condition of the inside and how clean it is. I've never been a laptop owner so I'm unsure of how to open it up and clean it. Does anyone have any advice on how to do that or if I even should?
-Thanks!

Collapse -
Cnet tells how at this link.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 15, 2008 12:10 AM PST
In reply to: Clean my laptop?
http://www.cnet.com.au/laptops/laptops/0,239035649,339274654,00.htm

Let me assure you that while getting inside is the best way to get all the dust bunnies if owners would at least keep the air vents clear and unblocked most of them would get 3 years without a trip to the repair counter with the exception of those Pentium 4 based laptops.
Bob
Collapse -
Life of a Laptop (battery)
by jijo272 / November 16, 2008 6:47 PM PST
In reply to: I agree.

I have a HP Pavilion 6129 and it works perfectly, but I bought a 12 volt battery to extend the time on the 6 volt that was included when I bought it. While switching these batteries, the original got stuck.

I got an estimate from HP service center in town of $300-$500, then I contacted HP and they said return it for $298 and they would check it out and give me the final price. The tech at HP suggested I just buy another laptop rather then spend $$$ on fixing this one.

Should I try to get it out myself by using a screwdriver or some other tool? Or should I just be happy that the unit is running fine and accept the fact that I won't be able to use my 12 volt battery.

Is there any danger in leaving the older, 6 volt battery, in the computer indefinitely?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Collapse -
You can't replace a 6 volt battery with a 12 v
by Steven Haninger / November 18, 2008 8:13 AM PST

so I presume you are talking about the number of cells in the battery and not the voltage. More cells means more available current. In any event, if it was my laptop, I'd be obsessed with figuring out what the problem was. Obviously, it wasn't a proper fit. I have seen occasions where a laptop runs into a problem where the only way out seems to be to remove the battery, set it aside for a few minutes and then put it back in. I can't explain it but have seen this more than once. As for you doing this, it would depend on how comfortable you are with using small tools to take things apart. I do this all the time but cannot speak for you. I woudn't pry at it with a lot of force. I wouldn't be adverse to removing a lot of screws that hold the case together just to get some additional clearance. That, alone, might free the battery. Good luck.

Collapse -
Life of a laptop.
by MoodLaw / November 19, 2008 7:30 AM PST

Hey RP, I did not relize that you were the person with the stuck battery. Anyway if you replaced a 6 volt system with a 12 volt system you are going to have a very short lived laptop. I assume that you replaced the battery with one with more cells. In that case the casing was larger and somehow you managed to slip it in. One thing I would check is to make sure that the battery is properly seated and that it is conected to all of the contacts. That way it should be able to charge and supply power. If it is working , then I suggest you just leave it be. If you must remove it . Go to your local auto parts store and get a set of picks. These are small sharp or hooked tools. The small straight one should be able to get between the battery and the computer with minimal scraching. I repair computers occcasionally for other people and I have used them with satisfaction. You decide. It is your computer.

Collapse -
Life of a Laptop (Battery Jammed)
by jijo272 / November 19, 2008 7:56 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a laptop.

That sounds like a plan!!!

Thank you. I'm going to try it because $300-$500 to unstick it seems a little pricey.

Collapse -
Life of a laptop
by MoodLaw / November 25, 2008 6:47 AM PST

To mainly. Yeah it is a plan. It has worked for me. The computer is not worth the expense. The picks will only cost a few dollars anyway. If the do not work for your purchased use, I am sure they will be usefull at another time. You have nothing to loose trying. Good Luck!!

Collapse -
Jammed Battery (Life of a Laptop)
by jijo272 / November 29, 2008 7:06 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a laptop

Thank you, Moodlaw. My son had some picks and had my battery out in seconds!!! I can't believe how close I came to paying Best Buy's Geek Squad $300-$500 to do it. They looked at the laptop too - before giving me that price...

I put the larger 12 volt battery in and I'm going to keep it there and not switch the 2 back and forth. I'm not taking any more chances.

Collapse -
jammed battery, life of a laptop
by MoodLaw / December 3, 2008 10:34 AM PST

I am glad to be of service. I am glad that things worked out. I am also glad that you did not have to watse your hard earned money on something that the geek would have performed in a second. You are very welcome.

Collapse -
Main Factors Involved
by ebowdish / November 14, 2008 10:19 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

How long a laptop computer will live depends on a few, if not several, main factors. First of all, the useful life of your computer depends on how up-to-date and powerful it was when you purchased it. A general rule of purchasing computers is to buy the best one you can afford at the time. This will extend the amount of time it remains useful for modern work, thus avoiding obsolescence longer. Longevity also depends on what you use your laptop for, and if you handle it well and keep it well cleaned, defragged, and running smoothly. As far as the actual hardware, it all depends on the quality of parts and how the machine was handled. Expect several years of life out of a quality laptop's hardware, though only around 3-5 years for the machine to be operable with the latest hardware/software.

Collapse -
Laptop Life
by Zouch / November 14, 2008 10:34 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

I agree with the earlier posts, particularly Steven, in term of "The Living Dead"! The useful life of a working laptop ends when it won't do what you need in a reasonable time. I have a Panasonic CF51 III that must be all of 15 years old, which is used only as an email and MS Office machine that is still going strong, running Windows 95. Web surfing became impractical 5 years ago and the batteries are long since defunct. But I guess this is the exception.

Fujitsu keep spares for three years after last ship, so I suppose that gives an indication of life expectancy. Thinkpads seem to go on forever.

Hardware repairs are probably not cost justified after 4-5 years, Software depends on what you want to do with it.

Collapse -
"ThinkPads seem to go on forever"
by BigRInOz / November 14, 2008 2:24 PM PST
In reply to: Laptop Life

That's a fantastic refernce for IBM! I hope it holds true now that ThinkPads have moved to Lenovo from IBM. My experience with them has been great too -- even for the one I dropped from the overhead luggage bin on a Boeing 747 onto cabin floor (about 6 feet). Incredible thing was it still worked although the screen membrane was ruptured -- had to shrink the e-mail window and drag it around the screen until the text I was interested in appeared in a working section of the membrane -- it truly was a case of "broken windows". However with new screen -- and about 4 key-tops which had flown off on impact replaced -- it worked fine until it ran out of puff when I needed to move from Win2K to WinXP.

Collapse -
Laptop lifetime
by mjd420nova / November 14, 2008 11:01 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

I have a Compaq unit that's been with me since 1994. It's an ols Presario unit and it has never failed me either. I use it for the serial port that has an automotive and motorcycle tuning adapter for making adjustments to the onboard computer for tuning purposes. It still has the original battery too. I think the lifetime of any unit depends on the proper care and feeding. Let the batteries run low and don't charge it until it needs it. Use a soft pack carry case and don't dump it off the table or block any of the ventilation fans or vents.

Collapse -
Yeh, me too...
by btljooz / November 15, 2008 5:39 AM PST
In reply to: Laptop lifetime

Presently I'm typing happily on my Compaq Presario 1800 (circa Win Me) with PCLinuxOS 2007 installed on it.

I also have a Toshiba Satellite with Windows XP that runs just fine with the exception that it needs a fan cleaned or replaced (haven't had time to find out for sure yet) and it also needs a new battery. As soon as I get the fan fixed I'm going to install either Kubuntu or Fedora on it. I can always use it plugged in until I can get a battery for it.

If collenmarie's Operating System has been on there and used the whole time she's owned the laptop, maybe it's NOT the laptop that is wearing out. Maybe the OS just needs to be cleaned out or even maybe even re-installed if it still has the recovery partition or she have the CDs to do so.

Hardware most always outlasts the software installed on it! Wink

Collapse -
Life of a PC laptop
by stormtrooper / November 14, 2008 6:24 PM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

The lifetime of a laptop depends on its useage. If you are what is termed as a gadgeteer then your Laptop will most probably last you less than a year, but if like me you are a uttilitarian it could last you as long as you need. Providing the O/S you wish to use is compatible with the slightly older technology and that you are good at delegating space and useage. That may be over someons heads but let me explain. Someone who like up to the moment equipment will most probably not want to be seen with an old laptop thus it is a fashion statement to them. Those of us who rely on using their laptop for its portability process and to be able to solve problems on the go then it will last you as long as the machine's processing viability. I have an old Compaq Presario I purchased back in 1998 which is now 10 years old. I have XP on it at present, but it has not got a DVD drive, it battery is worn out so I mainly power it off the mains, but because I am running it faultlessly I can often run programs that I cannot run on my Vista PC and I can often find faults on other machines when I run my diagnostic programs from it.
I suppose the answer to any question like this is what use is a laptop to you anyway and would a laptop purchased now last longer than the ones we currently have on the market. My puppy has lasted me ten years and just needs a new battery. It has USB 1.1 and I had to purchase a Network card to work wirelessly and it has a cdrom so an external DVD is needed to write files to and install certain software... Like windows Vista. I did try Vista on it and it worked fine but because of the original drive size 6GB I removed it because of a waste of space. When I purchased it it came with Win ME installed. I have recently upgraded the HD and other small bits but it is a whole lot cheaper than buying a whole new machine.
When you think about a laptop you shouod think about viability. will a new laptop be cost effective and "greener". will the battery last longer. And above all what does having a new laptop mean to you? First criteria it must be able to run and make full use of a 64 bit O/S because all the new O/S's like Windows 7 will now be legacy supportive but you will need a 64 bit system to run them. So your system must be able to support at least 4gb system Ram and have a graphic card capableof 128mb of graphics memory. The old 4 16 and 32mb cards will no longer cut it. In order to think about lasting longer it is better to wait until the systems available all support a full 64 bit layout to make them viable for the future. The best time for this would be when Windows 7 is released next year and it comes preinstalled or with 64 bit viability. A lot of people also mention to me upgradeability. This can be a sore subject but let us look at those people who have bought an iPhone or an iTouch in the last year and cannot for the life of them get it to sync with their laptop and it is less than 2 years old. Again it is software and hardware compatiblity. I have software on my laptop which will sync with anthing because it actually slows down the device attached to it to marry up its processing time, but there is not any comercially available software to do those things. When you finally sort through this minefield you have also got to justify the expense. will it get as much use as your old laptop. Or will it just be a hood ornament for your car. At present I just wouldn't chance it. The laptops are cheaper now and some are evenhaving to give them away to get you to buy something else or have a mobile broadband in order to justify the cost. I will wait until I can no longer use mine viably.

Collapse -
It depends on how long you want it to last.
by baggage1 / November 14, 2008 10:15 PM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

I started out with a bargain basement starter just to see how I would like having a laptop. That machine had keyboard issues which the company replaced with an updated better unit with lots of bells and whistles. I got Vista installed on it the day it came out. I updated a larger hard drive and Ram and ultimately the CPU. I'm somewhat of a gadgeteer but this machine has been used hard for 2 years. I have friends who have asked my advice for laptops and I have steered them to Compaq/HP and they have been very happy. I just got my sister a top of the line model I'm sure will last her many years of service. I have been tuning it up for her to pick up next week. As long as mine keeps up with me, I will stay with it for the duration. As has been mentioned before, get the best you can afford with graphics and CPU, the hard drive and Ram can be added later and cheaper.

Collapse -
Life Of A LapTop
by MoodLaw / November 17, 2008 6:01 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

I was reading that most people say that their laptop only is good for 2-3 years. I woyld like to make people aware that it has been my experience with HP's that the plug in for the power cord melts in about 2 years. I am lucky that I have some experience in the repair of electronic devies and have been able to repair my own and several of my friends HP laptops. I think HP makes a great computer, but they need to stop making the plug in out of plastic.

Collapse -
And counter to that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 17, 2008 6:10 AM PST
In reply to: Life Of A LapTop

I own 2 of those R3000 HP models that people claim to have power plug issues. Both of them are doing fine in year 4 so I can only share that the power plug is removed before we move the laptop.

Collapse -
Laptop Life (battery)
by jijo272 / November 17, 2008 6:29 AM PST
In reply to: And counter to that.

Can I leave the battery in the computer indefinitely??? Or when the battery dies, should I pry it out and keep on plugging it in as I am now....

Thanks.

Collapse -
That was discussed in another discussion.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 17, 2008 6:42 AM PST
In reply to: Laptop Life (battery)

A dead battery is not a good thing. It can strain the charging circuit and cause the owner to replace the motherboard as no one fixes boards.

If you just need the dead weight you can do what I do and tape over the contacts. and paint "DEAD" on it.
Bob

Collapse -
I'm lost.
by jijo272 / November 17, 2008 8:30 AM PST

I cannot get the battery out of the laptop. It's jammed. So I'm not sure what is to be taped over.

Collapse -
So it's stuck.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 17, 2008 8:47 AM PST
In reply to: I'm lost.

We have another discussion about that in this forum. As you are going off topic a bit, please start a new discussion.

Collapse -
Life of a Laptop!
by MoodLaw / November 18, 2008 7:28 AM PST
In reply to: And counter to that.

In regards to the issue of the power plug of HP units. I unhook my power cord prior to moving it. It is a heat issue, not an issue of excessive force. HP would be nunber one in my opinion if the would work on making a better power plug receptical.

Collapse -
I hear you.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 18, 2008 8:22 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a Laptop!

I can only share we've had a few of the units that I read complaints about. Ours are not failing. I can't explain why.

Collapse -
Life of a Laptop
by MoodLaw / November 19, 2008 7:12 AM PST
In reply to: I hear you.

Well sir, I hope the keep going like the ever ready bunny! That way you will be sure that you got your dollars worth. It may also add to the average life span of a laptop. THX!

Collapse -
my gateway
by sarafaith / November 29, 2008 7:35 AM PST
In reply to: Life of a PC laptop

started to give me problems less than a year after i got it. Sad

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Help 47,885 discussions
icon
Computer Newbies 10,322 discussions
icon
iPhones, iPods, & iPads 3,188 discussions
icon
Security 30,333 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 20,177 discussions
icon
HDTV Picture Setting 1,932 discussions
icon
Phones 15,713 discussions
icon
Windows 7 6,210 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 14,510 discussions

CNET Magazine

The summer issue is here!

In the latest edition of our quarterly magazine, we look at how you can spend your summer getting fit and having fun. Pick up a copy on newsstands today or order it now.