View Full Version : Do computers slowly die?

20-05-2005, 05:53 AM
I have been running into some issues with Windows XP pro over the last month or so and a thought just came to me. This computer (at times) can be on for a week strait or will be turned off for about 5 hours in a day, depending on what is downloading or needed. Does leaving a computer on slowly kill it? Or does hardware either go or doesn't go ... Just hope I'm not doing any damage here. So the question is (as long as nothing really bad happens) will a computer's hardware perform the same from the day you install it to the two year period. Oh, please do not get me wrong, this has nothing to do with Windows or any software, computer is reformated about once a month or even more. Hardware only :P

20-05-2005, 05:56 AM
Think of computers as you think of cars. It's a machine.

20-05-2005, 06:03 AM
But does that mean I should treat it like a car? Does cleaning out the computer of dust and such help? And is there anything I can do to keep my hardware in top condition?

20-05-2005, 06:49 AM
But does that mean I should treat it like a car? Does cleaning out the computer of dust and such help?

Yes, that will help immensly. All kinds of crap can get inside there through fan openings and whatnot (I reccomend getting an elastic material like some spandex and covering the back of the fan, that way it still functions, but acts as a filter.)

Just realize that the hardware inside your PC is ALOT more sensitive than the inside of a vehicle. And needs to be taken care of to preform well.

So, go pick up one of those high pressured air can things, and make sure you clean it at least once every other month.

Billy T
20-05-2005, 12:02 PM
I sincerely doubt that minor dust problems would cause XP Pro to have hiccups, but a reboot every day does much to clear the cobwebs out of memory etc.

I've been running the same install of Win 2000 Pro for about three years now with no apparent deterioration at all.

I also have an install of W98 that has been running for over 5 years without problems and it is a sharp as ever too.

Both comps run 16+ hours a day seven days a week and are turned off at night for a nice clean reboot every morning.

Apart from ZA pro firewall and NAV, the only other precaution I take is to stay away from shonky websites.


Billy 8-{)

20-05-2005, 01:37 PM
Hardware can and does wear out eventually, especially fans so you need to be aware of that if you hear strange noises suddenly happening one day. RAM can also wear out, so I have been told, but in general most of a computer's hardware can take quite a bit of punishment before it gives up the ghost. Leaving your computer on for long periods of time intermittantly with closing it down is not likely to harm it unless it was overheating, etc, and things are not going to wear out in just two years - if parts were going to die they would just die, with the exception of RAM. Faulty RAM can still work but cause problems.

You reformat once a month?! :eek:

If you are still having problems or "issues with Windows XP" after a reformat I think you would be best to tell us what your symptoms are and when they started happening so that advice can be given.

20-05-2005, 01:46 PM
Everything dies eventually. The quality of your hardware does a lot to determine its expected lifespan. Being on lot won't really make a lot of difference.
Cleaning - yes, physically and the O/S - de-cluttering etc.
I had a 7 year old PC here yesterday, 2 x 32mb ram and it only showed 32mb. Took them both out and cleaned off 7 years worth of dust accumulation off the modules and voila, 64mb again. (Of course took static precautions while cleaning).

20-05-2005, 02:19 PM
leave mine on 24/7, only restart about once a month when doing maintanace, In my opinion you will probably cause more wear and tear by starting the thing up every morning then leaving it on.
I'm sure we will hear others opinions/facts on that issue

20-05-2005, 02:24 PM
It is my understanding that anything that has a current passing through it is breaking down gradually because of it, So lifespan would be calculated by running time as well as date of manufacter.

I would suggest that monthly formating of a computer would be putting under stress for no good reason, Though it should be able to handle it without breaking a sweat (or a leg)

20-05-2005, 03:24 PM
The electrical side of things should last for ages (certainly some Apple LCs are still working and they are very old). It should last at least 5 years at least.

Stuff with mechanical parts will wear out and eventually fail .. e.g. you get fans that stop spinning properly, and the good old hard drives. I have a peek to make sure the fans are still working as they should from time to time.

I tend to leave my machines on all the time (if only to heat the room :D )
I haven't dusted it for ages.. works fine.

Haven't reinstalled Windows XP for ages (2 years??) - there is no need to (unlike windows 98). Just remember to have backups...

CRT screens tend to get dimmer and lose focus with time (maybe only the cheaper ones though).

20-05-2005, 05:18 PM
i reformat mine about once or twice a year, there is a noticable speed increase too, it really cleans out the junk. but all i have to do is pop my image disk in and im away :)

21-05-2005, 01:53 AM
i reformat mine about once or twice a year, there is a noticable speed increase too, it really cleans out the junk. but all i have to do is pop my image disk in and im away :)

Yes, a good idea. Alas I now have tons of stuff on my hard drive and the Ghost I have doesn't let you exclude folders/files with NTFS :yuck:

21-05-2005, 02:14 AM
gibler do you know what version of Ghost will do this job. I want to save an image of my Win2KPro OS complete with all programs, files etc, I am using NTFS. I am using approx 4 Gig of a 6 Gig partition. How large will the image be approx? Will it fit onto one Cd? If not, can I put it onto a slightly smaller partition on the same hard drive, this partition being FAT32. Or maybe onto multiple Cd's. I have never had the opportunity to use Ghost due to financial constraints but I hope to get the right version soon.

Thanks in advance, Robert.

21-05-2005, 02:21 AM
Now that we're talking about Ghost...

I love it. Only problem is that the personal version sucks. I'm used to the corporate one at work and the difference is so large I just can't be bothered.

Ironically, I just finished making a pristine install for use as a Ghost, but it's just so lame compared to the corporate edition that I didn't bother to continure making it (that and the fact that my image would be about 17GB).

Maybe when I get that multicast server going...

21-05-2005, 03:31 PM
Hmm. I have the personal version of Ghost. I love it. Does the job. If you make an image of PARTITION rather than drive it tends to come out smaller. Even if the drive only has one partition. But what I do, is put it on a DVD if its over CD size. Or store it on another HDD. Theres heaps of 10Gb Seagates on Trademe lately (out of XBoxes), so its not an especially expensive thing to do...

21-05-2005, 04:13 PM
Years ago when I was regularly writing for Datafile the local computer club magazine there were huge arguments about leaving computers on or off all the time. The are advantages for both actions but just for interest I worked out how much electicity was being used if the things were left on 24/7 throughout the country. I forget the figures now but it shook us all. NZ just cannot afford this waste. If for nothing else turn the things OFF when they are not being used. Could save a heck of a lot of water and or air pollution.

21-05-2005, 04:35 PM
A PC (assume average 150 watts) running 24/7 costs around $200 per year in power. 1,314 kWh per year.
That $ cost is rapidly rising with power cost increases.

Assume half of that time is not needed it is still $100 per year just wasted.

Yet I still encounter people that will not turn them off "because the hard drive will last longer if not powered down". You could buy a new hard drive every year at that price.

21-05-2005, 04:45 PM
Lol, thats hard out penny watching but well pointed out. And what do you mean reformats put stress on the computer, how on earth could that be??