General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Is my laptop dying?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (33255points) 1 week ago

I have a Dell XPS 13 laptop. It is 5 or 6 years old.

Last year, it had trouble starting up, so I now restart it every time I shut it down. On Monday, it died suddenly during a Zoom call. The screen quit, and it restarted itself.

Any ideas about what may be happening? Can it be fixed?

The machine does not seem to overheat. I have not noticed any other issues.

If I have to replace it, I will not spend more than $1000. I am leaning toward getting a new Microsoft Surface 4 Laptop. The unit I think that would serve my purposes was priced at $950 at Costco.

I use this for work including running trainings online. I cannot have it quit in the middle of a training. I do not use it for gaming or entertainment.

I will not buy an Apple product.

I welcome your diagnosis of my current machine and thoughts on a new one to replace it.

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12 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’d check the hard drive and if it’s in the red, you likely need a new laptop.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

1) Physical – Does it quit on battery power, AC, or both? One common physical problem with laptops is the power connection failing. It’s an easy repair.

2) Software – It’s good to re-install Windows from time to time and shed years of cruft. You will have to re-install applications. Backup up your files first to another device or the cloud,

Windows 10 makes refreshing easy. – See “Reset Your PC” here – Recovery options in Windows 10

If you are using Windows 7 or 8, the routine will be different.

3) Replacement – The Surface 4 is a really nice machine. You won’t go wrong with that. Go for it if you see it in person and like the keyboard, format, screen, etc.

Whatever you do, get at least 8GB RAM and all SSDs (solid state drive), not spinning hard drives. The SSDs are a lot faster and more power efficient.

Alternatively, I settled on Lenovo T series business laptops years ago. Business machines are more durable and come with less unnecessary software. The Thinkpad T490 is one step behind the latest and greatest, and there are plenty of options below $1,000.

My budget is smaller, so I go with used PCs from eBay. These typically sold originally for $1000 – $2000. I pay $100 to $300 for 3— or 4-year old models. I am happily using a Thinkpad T420 (circa 2011) and a T440 (circa 2014) that I bought years ago.

Caveat: The eBay option is not like buying new. Sometimes I get a piece that isn’t in condition I like. I resell it and look for a better one.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Thank you.

1 – If I remember correctly, it died when it was running on battery power.

2 – Thank you. The idea of having to reinstall Windows 10 frightens me. The machine came to me with Windows 8, but it literally updated to 10 the first day. I got the computer just when that change was happening.

3 – I like the Surface 4 laptop that I read about. This is a laptop and not the tablet with the detachable keyboard. Thank you very much for the information about Lenovo machines and buying used. I will give that some thought.

KRD's avatar

You might want to get a newer laptop.

Smashley's avatar

2nd the T490

@KNOWITALL – what do you mean, “in the red?” What check are you running?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Smashley The hard drive.

I also got the Lenovo Thinkpad.

Smashley's avatar

@KNOWITALL What is “in the red?” You couldn’t mean low disk space available, do you? If so, that is definitely not a reason to get a new computer.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Smashley Thanks, mine was a symptom of a larger issue. Corporate IT replaced my 2015 before my hard drive crashed. Moving on.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I suspect there’s an important issue with my computer. When it died on Monday, the screen went blue, and it restarted itself.

Here’s what looks like a good deal on the Lenovo Thinkpad T490. Thoughts? It’s got a fantastic chip, 8GB RAM. The display is fine. It only has 256SSD, but that’s more than adequate for me. I use the cloud for all storage.

hello321's avatar

^ That does seem like a good deal.

One thing to consider when weighing something like this vs the Surface Laptop 4 is the screen’s aspect ratio. The Surface’s screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is perfect in my opinion. You get a ton of vertical screen real estate vs the 16:9 on something like the T490.

Do you have a Best Buy or someplace you can see these in person? The screen might make the difference.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@hello321 Yes, there’s a Best Buy. I’ll go down today to compare the machines.

The price on that T490 is very good. In reviewing, I noticed that’s an 8th generation i7 chip. Thus the low price. It’s still a very good machine, and I may spring for it.

Zaku's avatar

If it’s Windows 10, I hear (haven’t experienced, as I avoid Windows 10) it might just be the recent update that messed up some Windows 10 systems.

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