Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Laptop Life Spans

My laptop is on its last legs.
I guess I've know this for awhile, as it started to move more and more slowly. Calling up papers to grade takes extra seconds to download. And when there are 100 papers, those extra seconds add up.
I can't remember how old my laptop is, but somewhere around 4 or 5 years old. I think that's pretty good for a laptop, which sometimes has the life expectancy of a squirrel. I wrote three years ago about how many laptops I've had to buy, so apparently they've gotten a little more reliable.
In 2009, this one went to the shop for a complete overhaul. Now it's showing similar signs of aging.
Back when it was healthy, I could have 5 or 6 windows open and switch between them, along with having music or NPR playing. Now the computer balks, as if it can only think of one thing at a time. I click on email and it pauses as if wondering, "Now where did I put that?"
A stack of my laptops that had died in 2009.
Along with slowing down, the computer has started to overheat. I have my own remedy for that. I vaccuum the vents to try to remove dust and cat hair or whatever else might be causing it to overheat. This time, that did not solve the problem.
As I'm typing, I can feel my left hand getting hotter as the heat from the computer vent rises. I remove my hand as often as possible, both to help the computer and to help the hand cool down. One day last week as I was trying to finish grading papers, the computer got so hot that it shut down -- making that little zzzeee noise that it does then going black. If you've ever had a computer spontaneously shut down, you'll know what I mean.
So I started working on my computer in small bursts. Half an hour here, half an hour there. I put it to sleep every time I walk away from it so it can cool down again.
Yesterday after work, I woke up the computer to check my email, check my blog and saw  the final sign that my computer is dying. The clock is off.
It's not like the clock has moved to another time zone, telling me West Coast time or even France time. No, the clock is off by 35 minutes.
That is such a startling time mistake for a computer. I'm kind of embarassed for it. So now, although it's 5:57 a.m. according to my healthy cell phone, the computer says 5:22 a.m.
The clock is one of the most basic computer features, if it can't keep up here, well I think this computer may be headed to the computer rest home to chug along with the other computers that remember the day when they were the fastest and the best, and when they never lost track of the time.
I'm not in a panic though, afraid of losing all those photos and teaching plans. Because I have Carbonite. I don't want to sound like some kind of commercial, but Carbonite is a backup plan. I pay $59 for the year and if I buy a new laptop, because mine dies or just because I want to, Carbonite will download all my old files to my new computer.
So go ahead and overheat,  little computer, but first, let me check my Quicken account to see if you've stashed any extra money that I can use to buy a new laptop.


Sheila said...

that was such a funny post I had to read it a second time out loud for Dan.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I feel your laptop pain. WE have a collection of (3) old laptops as well and (2) that are about (2) years old. I find the average life is about 4-5 years as well, but then they just get painfully slow.

We have always purchased Dells and the prices have gone from about $1,100 to just $400 now...SO that is a good thing. We always buy the least expensive model now as it does everything we need it to.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Hi Paulita, I have been catching up a bit here. It sure is a busy time for you, with graduation & parties & family & friends. Congratulations to you & your son! I hope you will have your computer woes resolved soon & that you will have a very happy summer.

BFF said...

I hope you typed Stephanie in the box!

Esme said...

I think it is time for a MAC-I have had mine since 08 and love it.

Anonymous said...

Had the same experience, I have a VIAO laptop, totally worth buying though, 3 to 5 Years of its age it started showing signs of slow processing, opening tabs (the same) Shutting Down was a headache... Though there is a temporary solution if you want your laptop to work further, "Replacing the slow working laptop parts will actually do". It may extend the laptop life a little more months or lucky a year or two..


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Benita Bolland said...

It seems to me like your laptop needs some serious cleaning! If you’ve cleaned your laptop’s vents, and it’s still overheating, try raising your laptop on a table a little so the air can freely flow on the surface. You may also buy a laptop cooling pad. Try cleaning up your disk drive too. Upgrading your video card will also keep your laptop from overheating and crashing.

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