Increase the Short Lifespan of the Average PC

The statistics website, which aggregates data from over 18,000 sources to provide accurate information on a variety of topics, has found that the average life of a desktop PC is just over four and a half years.

In 2012, PC lifespan averaged only about 3.97 years, and though that number rose modestly through 2015, this year’s projection tops out at only 4.6 years. Statista’s projection for 2017 is slightly shorter, with an average PC lifespan of 4.45 years.

Don’t be average
The figures may seem low to many Windows users, as after all we invest hundreds of dollars—or even several thousand—into our desktop computers, and then rely on them daily for nearly everything. But it is precisely this extended wear-and-tear that can take its toll in just a few years without regular PC optimization and maintenance.

The life of a PC left to its own devices is tied closely to the life of its hard disk drive (HDD). As it happens, the tech experts at Backblaze have been collecting data on hard drive failure for a number of years, by spinning up to 25,000 hard drives constantly and observing their failure rates.

The research reveals that about 92% of drives survive their first year and a half, with nearly all of those then enjoying a lifecycle of at least three years. Backblaze extrapolates from their data to conclude that under 80% of all hard drives will survive to their fourth anniversary, when drive failure rates suddenly skyrocket. Just 50% will survive six years. These figures map well with overall PC life expectancy when Windows is not regularly decluttered and maintained with a reliable optimization solution such as System Mechanic®.

Why hard drives fail
The Backblaze data suggest that there are three distinct failure phases for HDDs:

  • Year 1. Failures in the first year are usually caused by manufacturing defects.
  • Year 1.5 – 3. Between 18 and 36 months, drive deaths are caused by infrequent, random failures, often minor glitches that can snowball into catastrophe with bad luck.
  • Year 4+. As drives move into their fourth year, they simply begin to wear out. After all, the HDD is one of just a few components in the PC that are mechanical (cooling fans are another example). It’s only a matter of time before the read/write heads, disk platters, and actuator arm can no longer spin and actuate effectively and the drive just quits forever.

A word about SSDs
Solid state drives (SSDs), on which data is stored using interconnected flash memory chips, are another matter. These drives have no moving parts, though they do still wear out (more gradually) over time, are more expensive and have less capacity than HDDs.

Tools to prolong drive life
You can extend the lifespan while improving the speed and reliability of your HDD by making sure files do not become excessively fragmented over time, which causes undesirable mechanical movement as the read/write heads go looking all over the place for data from the disk platter.

System Mechanic helps resolve this problem with two proprietary approaches.

Program Accelerator®:

  • Defragments the hard disk and the data files written to it
  • Next, patent-pending technology realigns related program files such as Word templates and add-ons, grouping them intelligently with each other for the very fastest access

Working in tandem with this powerful tool, AcceleWrite:

  • Speeds up file writing to disk in real time, as disk I/O is happening, therefore preventing a lot of the fragmentation that would otherwise need to be eliminated later with a traditional defragmenting tool
  • Sends data to the disk in contiguous batches rather than in separated fragments that write tediously and are slower to recall later

In addition to promoting drive longevity by helping eliminate inefficient disk movement, the results of System Mechanic’s combined defrag and “prefrag” technology are much faster application launches and file loading times, as well as decreased system boot time.

Here are more easy ways to significantly increase your PC’s lifespan.

iolo UptoSpeed

UpToSpeed™ is iolo's ongoing article series written by PC experts for everyday computer users. Each article is packed with easy tips and practical advice on the latest issues affecting computers to help you get the most out of your PC.

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Increase the Short Lifespan of the Average PC