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When is it time to replace your laptop
Unfortunately technology moves so fast now, and labor unless you want to do it yourself is ridiculous. A 3-4 yr old laptop is a 12-15 yr old car... Sell it as is disclosing any problems or keep it and refurbished or clearance new laptops are the way to go. Warranty and newer technology and peace of mind knowing that 5-600 if you look for a open box or clearance gets you a 800-1000.00 very nice and reliable tool.
Technology does NOT move very fast
The statement that a 3-4 year old computer is obsolete is complete tosh.
For the vast majority of users - who just use their computers to browse and send email - there have been no major changes in the last 4 years.
For most users, all middle or upper range laptops are absurdly over-powered.
Personally I run Fedora Linux on my laptops (with Windows as a dual-boot option). I nearly always run Thinkpads, which I buy secondhand from a trusworthy German company. Currently I have a T61p (6549-CTO) and a T60, and there is a T43 which guests can and do use. I bought the T61p almost 3 years ago, and it was 3 years old when I bought it (for about €200). I'll probably get a T410 or T510 from the same source soon. But the T61 does everything I want.
Actually, if you are running Linux it is probably not a good idea to get a very recent computer, as there are usually minor problems with drivers and other software, which take a few months to sort out.
This has nothing to do with what to do if a computer has hardware problems. If it were just fan problems I'd open the computer and see if there is crud on the fan, but I probably wouldn't install a new fan and heat-sink. (I would on a desktop.)
Ads for new computers are almost as ludicrous as ads for cars. ("You can get up to 100mph in 10 seconds". Oh yes, and where are you living?
Technology does NOT move very fast, if you buy right
Lenovo, once IBM, Thinkpads are sturdy well-made computers built to last, easy to maintain and repair, with ready availability of parts and service manuals. I replaced my son's and my wife's T43s recently with T400s that I refurbished and upgraded. For the most part, the T43s served well for maybe 5 years, but showed their age playing streamed video and doing a few other compute-intensive tasks. The main motivation was to escape Windows XP. I subsequently loaded up one T43 with Linux Mint 17 and sold it to a willing buyer.
Now, why a T400? After all, it first debuted in 2008. Well, load it up with 8GB of DDR3 memory and a decent-sized hard drive and you have a sturdy, robust computer better than to the current underpowered i3, i5, and Celeron 4GB computers showing up in the stores. The only exception is battery life, because Intel has made a lot of progress in managing CPU power consumption. I upgraded my own laptop from an X61 to an X200 with SSD about 18 months earlier.
But now, change the story to the HP DV7, a Dell Inspiron 15 or many Acer-eGateMachines offerings, and maintainability rears its ugly head. Tear the whole thing down to do a common replacement of a part, and hope that the flimsy plastic does not break.
I repeat that buyers are at the mercy of the name-brand marketing companies and the stores, because nobody does any consistent evaluation of ease of making common repairs. You only learn how difficult your laptop is to repair after it breaks. I cannot call Dell, HP, Toshiba, Apple, Acer-eGateMachines or any other computer brand a "manufacturer" any more. All they do is lay out physical design parameters, and companies like Foxconn and Quanta are the real manufacturers.
Unfortunately, the major name brands in their death spiral of price competition sell UNDERpowered computers. The i3 and Celeron CPUs are poor performers, and 4GB of memory runs one task and two or three browser tabs comfortably, but limps along after that. And then there are the cheap-cheap plastic parts used to assemble the laptops sold in mass market stores, compared to titanium reinforcement of the Thinkpad frames.
End of rant... Ben
Majority of Users
I don't think there are that many users that only send email and "surf" the web. Even the older set wants to use streaming video such as Skype and the younger set wants to see videos and download music. That takes up a lot of power. Hard drives are constantly being upgraded. Processors are being upgraded all the time.
True, a lot of people who just want to send an email here and there and just look things up on the web. But, today, it is all about NETFLIX, which takes up a lot of bandwidth and needs HDD speed. It's all about YouTube, and people don't like seeing "buffering" messages.
Remember when Netbooks came out? Microsoft complained a lot. They want people to have newer and faster machines; not something slower. They can't make BIGGER operating systems if the direction on the hardware is reversed. If you had a machine that was made for Win95, do you think you could run the latest OS and software? Remember, it is not just the OS. You have to consider other software packages as well. For example, Microsoft Office.
I think we all have to remember that the driving force is going to be business systems. In business, you have applications. Very rarely do you see just email and surf the web. You see a lot of Microsoft Office. You see database access. You see homegrown applications made with JAVA and .NET.
Yes, I agree that there are users that just want to read their email and maybe surf a few web pages here and there. However, Microsoft makes a lot of money from the OEMs that make computers. Their profit is all rolled into what you or your company pay for when you buy a PC unless your company already has volume licensing or software assurance. But you really don't think you will take a PC that was made for Win98se and run WIN 9 on it plus office and streaming video and Netflix.
The pace of hardware releases is partially in the pocket of those making the software. When the netbooks came out, Microsoft alluded to moving on to Ultrabooks. How did they know there would be "ultrabooks" at that time unless they were already talking timelines with the hardware (Intel) makers. And if you think you can stay on XP forever....
On XP the latest Internet Explorer that (supposedly) will run is IE 8. I can tell you that many websites no longer run with IE 8. So you get Firefox. Software firms no longer produce software that runs on MS-DOS nor Windows 2000. If you want the latest features, you will need to move up eventually. And really old systems may not support the latest OS.
Not just email
I'm 72 1/2 years old and have 3 notebooks, 2 17.5" and a 4" which I can use as a portable. 4 Desktops and Samsung tablets, 7" 2 10.2 and a `12.2. I play games on the tablets, simple ones like star wars, Card games etc. I also watch Netflix, hulu+ and free movies and more on XBMC/Kodi. stream it from my Notebook via HDMI to my Smart TV, and also own a Samsung S4 smart phone.
Emails are a good part of my day, because I get about 60 as soon as I log on in the morning. Spam filter catches a lot of them. My Gmail, AOL and Yahoo not so much. My friends range from 35 to 79 yrs of age and all of them shop (my favorite activity) that's why I get so many emails. They belong to newsgroups, social websites and also watch sports that are not available on TV.
No way are they any different than the younger crowd, but they don't walk around with a cell phone stuck to their ears or walk into poles while texting. Most prefer texting over phone calls. I am the opposite, have 2 Landlines, a FAX and my trusty cell.
One needs to get out of the Windows mindset to realize that Linux can rejuvenate obsolescent hardware very well, the main limitation being the size of RAM. As long as it is possible to boost it to 2 or 3 GB while choosing a lightweight distro, little stands in the way of using and an "old" machine, and enjoy it. As for applications, there are plenty under Linux; MS Word and its ribbon would make me want to curse if I had to run it - LibreOffice is a much better choice these days.
With progressive failure of various elements of a laptop like the Pavilion in question and knowing that it could serve for something like eight years, I would first check the hard disk for bad sectors. Next, checking the screen for dead pixels and/or burnouts. Should there be any of these, I would stop entertaining the idea of having the laptop repaired and start looking for a replacement, not even bothering to try and resolve the overheating problem.
I have a 1997 Ford Taurus, you can hardly hear the Engine when I come to a stop, I sometimes think it stalled. My mechanic says that it is in better shape than a lot of newer cars he works on, it has all of 75,000 miles on it.
What warranty? Most new computers come with a 90 day warranty at best, unless you want to be a sucker and pay for a worthless extended warranty.
I had a HP 17" DV7 and loved it. I had to many computers and I gave it to my Granddaughter for her 17th birthday, Her dad has a Apple and she does not like it, can't do a lot of things she likes.
When is it time to get a new Computer, The same as when it is time to replace a 5yr, 10yr or 25yr old car, when it is no longer cost effective to repair it.
First, back up your system now.
If you're experiencing thermal shutdowns, you need to back off your data files now. Maybe even save an image of your entire hard disk. And regularly save your new data files to an external disk rather than the internal hard drive.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard folks say there's "nothing important" on their system until it fries and they discover everything is lost. All too often, from experienced computer users who should know better. So I beseech you, back it up now before you really regret it.
As a matter of course, you're probably going to find it's better to buy the next laptop than salvage the current one. It's served you for (al)most (all) of its servicable life, and for the price it'll take to bring it back to top shape, you'd be better off investing in your next system.
But you don't want to start from scratch. For your own good, back up what you've got now. And do it regularly until you get the next system.
Time to replace
I just put the drive from a Dell laptop that had been down about a year in one of those $20 USB enclosures. Worked like a champ! Very easy to do. Son-in-law was very happy to see those pictures he thought they lost and now he has a backup drive. I plan to run Spinrite on the USB drive and probably reformat it.
Bottom line - pull the drive, put it in an enclosure and verify you can see your data. Then order a new laptop. BTW, find a very short USB cable, or one with a pigtail to supply extra current.
so true - I just went thru that hahahaha I dont have much that is important and have disks to recover
programs... or so I thought
had to run a backup/recovery as I could not find the cd/diskette for a program that refused to run.
prob had something with the Ver9 avast on my xp pro sp2 which was a disaster and took
weeks to finally find every last trace of avast and delete it - but my PqMagic was messed with
and since its old it was unrepairable with no disk found. and since norton bought symantec
they dropped the line. jerks (as usual ..so I dont us them at all cept what MS installs for their use).
I see the DV7 fan assemble for under 20 bucks on ebay.
http://www.insidemylaptop.com/complete-disassembly-instructions-hp-pavilion-dv7-laptop-guide-2/ looks daunting at first but we don't have to do every step there but it is nice to see what we are in for.
Figure 10 bucks for a tube of heat sink compound and we're up to 30 bucks.
As to the speaker, I'd plug in some headphones and not bother with the builtin speaker issue.
And yes, all the moderators have something to add here. "We only lose what we don't backup."
Great ideas here...and for the sound...
I like the idea of NOT using computer speakers at all because they all sound bad....so using the headphone output to a small set of speakers ( like those found in Radio Shack or....) that are a 3 way system that gives much better " bass" than computer speakers...be thankful the headphone jack still works but also is an easy fix if need be.
The link to InsideMyLaptop got me through a complete disassembly of my dv7 (model 3065dx) to the point where I found the thermal grease on the CPU chip was quite likely the fatal problem. Thank you so much for the link!
Let me add more.
That compound can be all wrong even on new gear (link to follow) as well as dry out over time. I know that many are a little scared about this work so let me add these little pearls.
1. If you feel a little out of your depth, read and watch those sites and videos again. If this is your first, take it slow, take pictures so you can see how yours was assembled as you go.
2. If you feel way out of your depth. Wait till you have a corpse of a PC to practice on.
3. Canned air is your friend.
4. Don't get too picky about the compound. I use a paper towel to wipe it off. Some go nuts with cleaning compounds. Me? I like to see it pretty clean, without bumps or foreign material but spotless? No.
5. Read http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-290x-thermal-paste-efficiency,3678.html#xtor=RSS-998 to see a great write up. Too many folk think if it's new, then the heatsink and compound is good to go. (it ain't!)
PS. Thanks for the reports everyone.
Well past ....
I'd say it well past time to replace. Its just plain uneconomical to fix an old laptop and if you watch - such irresistible deals come along - unfortunately the rules here disallow saying where. Until recently the biggest disincentive to replacing that comfortable old laptop has been Windows 8 - but now I'm seeing many that offer windows 7. When I replaced mine I was able to get one powerful enough and with enough capacity to almost match my desktop - and so I keep them pretty well matched - another topic altogether!!
Our most recent laptop was the one I got for my wife! A very powerful laptop even 17 inch!! - unfortunately W8 - but 8.1 is looking more sane.
So - start shopping - and you'll find something very nice at a good price.
Buy New, yes; Trash Old, no
I'm with the idea of moving on to a new computer, but I kind of cringe when you say "trash it".
You can try to donate or recycle the computer. Some advice on that:
-Protect your personal information by either taking out the hard disk drive and keeping it or overwriting it with random data before you give it to anyone. You may think it's useless, but someone who has the know-how and desire can put together a profile on you and find a way into your accounts based on information you forgot was on there (or simply was unaware of).
-Find out who takes donations and can use the good parts to fix PCs for those who don't have the financial means to buy a PC
-Check out reputable companies that recycle electronics; none of those folks who sell to other countries who in turn put desperate folks at risk for toxic exposure making them search for gold and other valuable metals.
Yes, you could repair it ...
... but the cost of repairs (done in a shop) could easily exceed the cost of a new laptop that's faster, has a larger hard drive, and in general is superior to what you have now.
My HP G60 laptop died in March, after serving me well for several years; the video card overheated and went crazy after about two minutes from a cold boot. I tried spraying canned air into every opening on the case, hoping it was just a dust bunny that I could dislodge, but that didn't work. I suppose I could have tried opening the case, but I'm not comfortable working within a laptop. So I removed the hard drive, tossed the rest and bought a new HP Pavilion laptop -- much more powerful processor, over double the hard drive capacity, slightly more RAM (4GB versus 3GB in the old machine), better display, touchscreen (not that big a deal, actually), longer battery life per charge, and Windows 8.1. All that for about $450 with a padded Targus case. If had put another couple hundred bucks into my budget I could have upgraded to a unit with a Blu-Ray writer (instead of DVD writer) and gotten a keyboard more suited to touch-typists; but I was heading out for a few days on the road and in a hurry.
Pulling the hard drive removed any chance of data or identity thieves getting useful info out of the dumpster, and gave me an additional 2.5-inch drive to play with. I have since transferred the data I needed to my desktop machine, and from there to the cloud where it is also available on my new laptop and other devices.
I briefly considered keeping the entire laptop and opening it just to see what I could do with it, but I already had enough dead/dying/obsolete tech junk that needed to be tossed; no sense adding to it when I didn't need to. I also considered installing a new hard drive, installing Windows on it, and giving the computer to Goodwill; but they don't need problematic computer hardware any more than I do, even if it's free.
..., but then you'd have ...
more money invested in an old laptop, and you would still be vulnerable to the next failure. IMHO, it's time to walk away from the old laptop. Get the usb (or SATA) hard drive case (or dock). Copy your data to the new laptop. Reinstall any software you use every day. Your new laptop will probably be Windows 8.1 and you may need to upgrade. Go slow. You may find that you don't use a lot of that old software any longer.
When it's too far gone to upgrade.
I had an ancient old laptop, which was too far gone to upgrade. However, instead of shelling out for a brand new laptop, I did some shopping around for a reasonable used one. I found one on EBay for $125.00, it was a Dell Latitude D620. Definitely not a newer model. In fact the sticker on it said it was made for Windows XP.
However by swapping out the hard drive (from 80MB to 1TB), goosing up the RAM to its max of 4GB, and upgrading all it's drivers, I am now happily running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on it. While it's nowhere near as fast as my desk top, it does get the job done.
My total investment in it has been $250.00 so far. I am planning on getting a new battery for it, and that will set me back another $60.00. So for a little over three hundred dollars, I have a very usable computer.
The upshot of my story is, if you're comfortable working under the hood of your laptop, you can upgrade it. If you're not a techie, it may be worth your while to get yourself a new one, with a good warrantee. If you don't like the idea of tinkering under the hood yourself, a good warrantee is your best friend. I hope this helps.
Purchasing a refurb is often better than upgrading
Last week I purchased a refurbished Dell i17R-6121DBK for a $302 total with $42 in rewards towards
next purchase. You need to watch for a good promotional offer. I have given the links in another topic.
I have had good luck with refurbished desktops for the office.
I am waiting to see how a refurb laptop is going to be.
Better than expected
They must have run out - they sent a Dell Inspiron 17R 5721
which is newer model. It has faster processor that uses half the
power, a 750GB HD and win7-pro. I plan to use a 500 GB SSD
that I purchased (also on promotion) for $170 (199 with $30 in
reward points). I notice one dead pixel but otherwise the laptop
looks no different than a new one.
It came with bios v03. Updated (to v13) and the fan is now quiet.
The battery lasted 4-5 hours - I have not installed the SSD yet.
I am sharing all this to show what is possible for just $300.
I loved my old HP dv7-3060 - but had to throw it away un-assembled
after spending $180 in repair for overheating which lasted about six
months - second time around I did not want to pay them for putting it
back together after examining it. So - threw it in the garbage.
Better than expected
My only argument with what you did is that you tossed the parts in the garbage. There are many free services on line (Freecycle for one) where you can offer your used things for free to someone who might be able to make use of them. Also, these days most areas have local electronics recycling for free, and many manufacturers will offer that as well, and even pay shipping.
Computers contain not only valuable materials which can be recycled or repurposed (metals, and rare minerals) but they also contain toxic materials like flame retardants and heavy metals in their batteries, hard drives, and elsewhere, which should not end up leaching out of a landfill.
Please do everyone a favor and either give your old computer away to someone who can make use of it or send it to be recycled (locally if at all possible) to both prevent the toxic materials from entering soil and water and also so the valuable materials can be reused.
Time to move on......
I agree with everyone above but.....it depends.
Experience has taught me that by the time you become familiar with your tech purchase, it will be outdated already.
For this reason, I do not purchase something until I really need it.
1. Looking back, desktops seem to be outdated at about 6 years. Laptops have a shorter functional lifespan of 3-4 yrs.
2. It is not worth repairing old junk unless the cost was less than 20% of the laptop's worth today (not what you paid for it 4 years ago).
3. If you have the time, try fixing it yourself and learn. If the repair did not work you will be out of only 30-40 bucks.
4. Even a bargain grade new laptop is generally better than a repaired 3-4 year old mid-grade laptop.
You do not lose any saved data if your computer overheats. The hard drive is still intact. But no one can argue against backing up your data before playing with your computer.
For What It's Worth
What every "engineering" question there is the common universal engineering symbol: It is the letter "S" with a couple vertical lines through it. It all boils down to cost. But what about the "pain-in-the-a..." factor? Easy. Figure out what your time is worth in dollars/hour. These days, the cost to replace is better than the cost to repair. I figure that when things start breaking, planned obsolescence has started to set in and you may find that, after a while, you will have replaced every part of the laptop. Is the cost of replacing parts higher than buying a new one? Probably. It was like the old argument of is it cheaper to build a PC/laptop or better to get one ready made. In many cases, the answer is not obvious because you will pay full retail for all of the components while the companies that build them buy in huge bulk and the cost to them is minimal. So, cost-wise, maybe fixing the two broken items is better than buying something new, but will it stop at just the two items? Then there is the "wow" factor. Wouldn't you like something newer and faster with more high-tech in it than what you have. Sure you would. But remember that it all comes with a price. The price being that you may need to change your OS, then change your office suite... change your applications that you paid for because they may not run well on the new box.
On the other hand, you may have a sentimental attachment to your notebook. Maybe it fits just right on your desk or in your bag or has some special feature that works just perfectly well for you. We just bought a new Tivo and it has a whole new interface. While it has some new features that the old one didn't have, there are some features that used to work nicely in the old one that don't work so well in the new one. Different UI? Yup! And not easy to pick up. But the old one is not working too well. So, did we have much choice? Probably not in our case.
So, I'd suggest making a set of reasons why you should keep the old notebook and another list as to why you should buy a new one. Cost is a factor but remember to include all of your time and effort to bring the new one online or to keep the old one fixed. Think of it like a car. Sure you want more cup holders. Or maybe you don't want your new one to send your speed data to your insurance company. Meaning, this is a personal decision for you. I'd get something new; the old one sounds like it is becoming a liability. Remember to start backing your stuff up somewhere as others have suggested.
I hope this helps.
For What It's Worth
What is missing from your formula, and is commonly so, is the real cost.
Your cost at the store is not the full cost of something you buy. There is also the discard costs of the new products packaging, the cost of the pollution in shipping and making it, the cost of the raw materials in tearing up the landscape with mining for the elements to make the parts, the energy cost to manufacture them, and the cost of the health of the underpaid workers all along the way. Then there are the costs of the old product you toss or otherwise discard, even if you recycle it.
We are burying ourselves in our trash, we are poisoning the planet, we are taking over land that is needed for other inhabitants on the planet or for food, or even our own food production. We are grinding up the planet to find more energy by fracking and burning tar oils, and strip mining. For every item you can continue using (and I disagree that you will have to replace "every part" to do so, usually there are just a few main weaknesses in any electronic item) you save considerable energy and materials, let alone human and animal costs. We are in the midst of experiencing what may be the greatest climate disaster in humankind, and this continual easy "toss it away and replace it" doesn't come without considerable costs greater than cash.
Occasionally, (and this is rarely the case in most studies of these factors) you can replace a very energy wasteful product with something much more conserving, and that can make up for the other part of the balance sheet. But this is usually only true when replacing electronics which are many years old. One example might be going from incandescent to LED or OLED lighting.
Anyway, I just wanted people to think about more than the false economy we live in which does not consider many of these issues and put a proper price on them. If we did, most of the time a repair would be a lower cost way to go, because in actual fact when considering these other real costs, it is.
As a general rule...
When you start to see multiple problems at once, such as you are seeing now, it is time to start thinking hard about a new computer. Of course, thermal shutdowns are a serious problem to begin with, if they are happening more than once in a while. You should not try to keep a computer that has that problem unless the problem is fixed.
However, I don't recommend trashing the computer. If you can, fix it yourself and then keep it around as a spare or give it away to someone who doesn't have a computer.
I had a similar experience 2 years ago
I loved my Hp Pavillion dv5220. XP worked great always and the computer was never a problem. Heat is always an issue with all computers however and even today's systems that are driven for higher functionality have bigger heat issues.
But alas the main point of my story was that I knew it was time for an upgrade even though I wanted to not depart with my Hp Pavillion. As time goes on so does technology and I needed updated connectivity from what was given in 2004 including a bigger hard drive and HDMI outputs to do presentations on big screen monitors. One day I was walking by a store window and saw the laptops on display and couldn't believe that prices had come down so much.
I couldn't resist that for an Hp G6 Win 8, 500GB, 3Ghz, machine with HDMI and USB3 ports all for just over $400, I was sold!! I still use my older XP model Pavillion for back up and hope to keep it running for as long as I can!
Decide if it's worth it.
Look it up on Ebay and iFixit and see if it's worth repairing. It may be as simple as a replacement fan and some heat sink compound.
Depends on which DV7
These machines had a lifespan from 2008 to 2012 and were updated pretty much at least annual from Core 2 Duo through 3rd gen Core i (Ivy Bridge) until they were replaced by the Envy range. There was also a corresponding AMD processor range.
Some DV7s were quite high specification, dual HDDs, quad core processors, with 17.3" screens etc.
So whether your machine is economically repairable would depend on which model you have. Generally, I'd say machines prior to the DV7-5000 range are pretty much end of life but the 5000s onwards (Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge) should be serviceable for a few more years - depending on how much yours costs to repair.
The link given by Bob is is a pretty good guide as to whether you feel capable of replacing the fan yourself - it is deeply embedded and you will have to take out the motherboard to get at it. If you think you are up to it, it sounds like a cheapish repair. If it looks too much and, to be honest, if you've not done this kind of thing before, it may be, then get a quote and then compare with new or refurbished machines. You might even find a deal where you can trade the old machine in against a new model.
If you do decide to have a go yourself, do check the replacement fan VERY carefully before you buy. There are a lot of third party generic fan assemblies on the market and they may not fit well enough, especially on a machine like the DV7 with a lot of variants.
If the headphone socket is still working, I wouldn't worry about the dead speaker, there are lots of small very portable speaker sets on the market and even the low end ones are better sound quality than the laptop speakers. Or maybe a set of USB speakers.
If you decide a replacement is a better choice for you, don't just trash the DV7, it will be useful to one of the charities that recycle these things, if only for spares - and if the screen still works correctly, that would be valuable to them.
If you feel the need to ask the question...
If you are moved to ask the question "Is it time to replace my laptop?" then it almost certainly is.
But in your case the affirmative answer to your question is clearer than most. Your laptop's problems may be reparable, but it would cost you a fairly high percentage of the cost of a new one to get it fixed. And you'd still be stuck with your decrepit old laptop instead of a shiny new one.
I don't usually trash my old ones, though. I donate them to worthy institutions, or convert them to Linux boxes for fun.
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