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Tech tips

4 warning signs your laptop is about to fail

Times are tough as the world moves through a pandemic and anything we can do to save money is helpful. While restrictions have eased and some are returning to their workplaces, others are still working remotely.

There are few things more frustrating than a slow computer, especially when you’re working on something important. Tap or click here for some tips on getting your PC or Mac up to speed.

Computer issues are virtually inevitable and range from minor to serious. Whatever the problem, take some time to address issues before replacing your PC, Mac or laptop. We’re going to focus on the latter and help you diagnose and solve problems you may experience with your portable computer.

1. Slow, sluggish performance 

It’s not too late for a little spring cleaning, and we don’t mean your home. Clutter slows down your computer and could contain nasty bugs. When was the last time you played Snood? Look through your apps and programs and uninstall or delete what you don’t use anymore. If you paid for an app, you could reinstall it at a later date if needed.

Close your system tray icons to give your laptop a nice boost. Do you need that weather program to sit down there and constantly tell you how it is outside? The same goes for programs that run on startups. These can be a serious hog on your system and drag everything down with them.

Updating your system is not just good for your security, but it can help with performance too. Developers release patches to streamlines apps and operating systems, and you should always have the latest version. Use antivirus software to clean out bugs regularly.

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2. Random errors or crashing

Overheating is a major cause of laptop errors and crashes. Keep your device’s vents clear to aid in circulation. You can also clean out the vents with an air cleaner – dust also contributes to heat buildup.

Viruses and malware can cripple your laptop’s performance and cause any number of problems. Always keep antivirus software running and set it to perform regular checks. Here are three reasons these programs are so important.

Crashes can be attributed to software or hardware issues, though the latter is a more common cause. Check your motherboard and graphics drivers for the latest version and reinstall them if necessary. Peripherals such as printers and scanners can cause driver conflicts so disable any you have connected and see if anything changes.

If this doesn’t solve your problem, it could be a faulty part. Replacing these is cheaper than buying a whole new system, but it might be worth looking for something new if your hardware is ancient.

3. Hard drive issues

Check your hard drive capacity. It won’t run so great if it’s almost full. As we said above, get rid of programs and files you don’t need or back them up to an external drive. You can get a terabyte drive nowadays without breaking the bank. Use it to store your old photos, videos and other files you don’t need immediate access to.

Cloud storage is becoming more common and is a great way to free up space on your device. Tap or click here for our recommended service.

Try a disk defragment to let your hard drive run more efficiently. You can buy or download a program for this, though Windows has one built in that works just fine and most modern Macs do this automatically. Be warned that defragging is not necessary if you have a solid-state drive and could even damage it.

Corrupted files mess with your hard drive and could lock you out of programs and processes. Disk checking software could locate bad sectors on your hard drive and attempt to repair them.

Unless you’re using a solid-state drive, hard drives wear out over time. You could reach a point where nothing will fix it. In this case, you want to recover as much data as possible and replace your hard drive.

4. Strange sounds coming from inside the laptop

Most laptops make a little noise while running as the internal fan keeps everything cool. This could get louder or quieter as you perform various tasks. If you hear a different sound, such as grinding or rattling, the fan itself could be broken. This is an easy and cheap fix.

If you notice noise while the fan is at rest, the sound could be coming from your hard drive. If it’s reached this point, it is beyond repair and needs to be replaced. Make sure you back everything up first yourself or use a professional and reputable service.

If all else fails and you need to buy a new laptop, take our quiz to find the right one for you.

When the time comes to buy a new laptop, you’re in luck. Dell is having a summer sale that gives you up to 45% off. Tap or click here to read more about these amazing deals.

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