Computer Upgrade, Rebuild or Buy New? 3 Tips

computer rebuild repair
Your older computer has been a solid workhorse but now it's falling short, should you hold on to it?


Some people get a new car every two years.  Others trade up their smartphone annually.  I tend to hold onto cars until they cost more to maintain than replacing it.  Then there are Microsoft Windows computers.  The decision to replace it can get complicated.

 Start by answering the questions below:


  • Does the computer have applications that aren’t supported on new versions of Windows?
  • Do you have the product keys, license codes, CD’s, DVD’s, and downloaded installers to reinstall?
  • Do the newer versions of Windows have drivers for the older hardware in your current computer?
  • Do you know how to copy off your files and restore them on a new version of Windows?  (This can be the most complicated part of moving to a new computer or rebuilding an existing one)

I own a Lenovo ThinkPad X61 laptop purchased in February 2008.  It came with Microsoft Windows Vista, arguably one of Microsoft’s most unstable and poorly implemented operating systems in history.

I didn’t stay with Vista for very long.  I’ve backed up my laptop, wiped it, and reinstalled new versions of Windows at least four times!  My X61 is now on Windows 8.1 Update 1, the latest version of Windows.

I’m happy with the results.  My X61 powers up and shuts down much faster.  The X61 came with a 160GB 2.5” hard drive.  I replaced it with a 500GB hard drive a few years ago.  I just replaced it again with a 480GB SSD drive which has throughput twice that of the hard drive.  Performance is pretty good for my needs.

My clients typically get a new computer because their current computer failed, the performance has degraded so much they can’t work with it any longer, or the computer can’t run a newer version of a LOB (line of business) application.  Microsoft just retired Windows XP, so thousands of computers are being replaced due to security and obsolescence concerns, even though they still work.

Here are 3 simple rules on whether to upgrade, rebuild, or replace your computer:

1.      If the computer has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better:

If the computer has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better it can run Windows 7 or Windows 8 and is still usable for light computing tasks.  You can often tell the kind of processor a computer has by looking in Control Panel, System in Windows.  Anything older is not worth upgrading.  That means computers five years old or less may be worth the cost to upgrade or rebuild.




About the author

David Streit

David Streit is an IT consultant and an entrepreneur, as principal of Stephill Associates, LLC. in Manalapan, New Jersey. Stephill provides IT infrastructure and technology advisory services for small business clients in New Jersey and New York City. Streit has worked with PCs and technology for more than 25 years.  He and his wife, Claudia, have two daughters, Hillary and Stephanie. 
Stephill Associates website.