16 WebsiteCompass Beyond the Basics Nothing lasts forever, including your laptop. The number of years you can successfully keep using yours will depend on what you do with your laptop, how well you take care of it, and how it’s performing. Is It Time to Replace Your Laptop? If you see these warning signs, start shopping for a new one If you only use your laptop for basic tasks, then you’ll probably be able to get more years of operation from it than someone who uses theirs for intensive activities such as gaming or video editing. Laptops used mostly at home, as opposed to outdoors, also tend to have a longer lifespan. In general, you can expect to keep a budget laptop functioning for an aver- age of three years. Higher-end models can last up to five years. In addition to keeping an eye on the calendar, though, watch out for changes in your laptop’s performance. Signs of a Declining Laptop If you experience any of the things below, it could be your laptop’s way of telling you, “I’m reaching the end of my useful life.” Pay attention to these signs: • It’s running slowly, lagging, and freezing. Or it takes longer to boot up and power down than it used to, and specific programs and apps take longer to load. • You have to force restart your laptop on a regular basis. This is not a good sign. • It randomly shuts down on you in the middle of tasks. Your laptop could be overheating because the system is too old to handle what you’re doing or the fan has given out. Either way, it’s a warning that something serious is going on. • You get the Blue Screen of Death. This is a big deal that indicates a problem with your laptop’s operating system. Take it to a trusted computer repair shop to see if it can be fixed or needs to be replaced. • There are incredibly long pauses. You may notice this when you’re trying to switch between one application and another, or between different tabs.