How Long Should a Laptop Last?

By Devon Thoreau

A laptop could last one month or 10 years. The average life of a well-maintained laptop, though, is three to five years. There are several things to consider when wondering how long a laptop should last: the warranty, the quality of the hardware, and the type, care and usage of the laptop.


The warranty is a surefire way to make sure your laptop lasts a certain number of years. If you buy an extended warranty, hold on to the paperwork, register the laptop and don't do anything that might void the warranty, such as unscrew the back cover or remove any hardware. Leave it up to the techs and you can rest easy knowing that the laptop will last the number of years the warranty is good for.


Hardware cause laptops to die often. This is not usually your fault. The manufacturers, in an effort to cut down costs, use the cheapest hardware for the cheapest laptops. It is all replaceable -- at a cost -- but if your motherboard fails in two years, do you really want to spend $200-400 on a new one for outdated equipment? Most people would buy a new laptop, rendering the old one dead. Some computer manufacturers recognize faulty hardware quickly, and create new drivers to fix the issues or extend the original warranty. The general rule is that all computer hardware is outdated after one year, but if you pay attention to other factors, the functionality should last longer than that. Parts like the battery and graphics card can be overused, and the warranty won't cover anything that stops working from normal use.


The type of laptop you buy will affect its lifespan. Macs seem to last longer than PCs -- some people on the Internet report having working Macs that are 10 years old -- but they cost more and new technology renders old hardware virtually useless. People with older computers usually replace the parts to bring them up to date with faster speed, wireless or cable Internet, and more hard drive space. If you buy the cheapest PC, you'll run into lifespan problems too. Cheaper models are built with cheaper materials, so if you're looking for a computer that will last three to five years or longer, invest in a laptop with quality hardware.


Regular care will help your laptop last longer. Regularly clean it or take it in to have the dust removed from the fan, keep liquids away from it, keep the monitor clean, carry it in a sturdy laptop bag and use a laptop cooler. Never set your computer on soft surfaces like your bed. Overheating will cause laptop performance to quickly deteriorate. Be particularly careful with the cord that charges the computer: they can easily wear out when bent beside the laptop's plug-in slot.


Computers used for gaming wear out the hardware faster than those used for simple office work. Try not to overwork the computer -- the parts can burn out. Also make sure you do not leave it running constantly, and avoid running it from the battery to get a longer lifespan. Always use a firewall and anti-virus protection. Be smart about downloads and emails. If you're not sure it is from a verifiable source, or it looks suspicious, you're better off playing it safe. With great care, a laptop can easily last three years, and in some cases can last 10 years or more. It all depends on how well you protect it.