Choosing to boot or reboot an aging computer

Noble Horvath

Q: I have a Windows 10 computer that has become increasingly unreliable as it has aged over its three-year life. I’ll be using Outlook, Excel or Chrome and the computer stops responding until I reboot. Often, multiple reboots are necessary before it settles down. I tried deleting all non-Microsoft or […]

Q: I have a Windows 10 computer that has become increasingly unreliable as it has aged over its three-year life. I’ll be using Outlook, Excel or Chrome and the computer stops responding until I reboot. Often, multiple reboots are necessary before it settles down. I tried deleting all non-Microsoft or Google apps, but to no avail. Do I need to buy a new computer, or is there an alternative?



a screen shot of an open laptop computer: The Windows 10 operating on a Microsoft Surface computer.


© Richard Drew, STF / Associated Press

The Windows 10 operating on a Microsoft Surface computer.


A: There’s a common misconception about computers in that computer owners think that their PC is slowing down or misbehaving because the hardware is wearing out.

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It’s not surprising, as we all know that this is true for things like our car or for household appliances that have a dominant mechanical component with many moving parts that can and do wear out and need replacing.

While it’s true that computers have parts that can fail, the typical cause of computers issues tends to be with the software.

Your operating system, along with your installed applications, tend to deteriorate over time. This is the result of installing and uninstalling programs as well as updating or even failing to update all of your software.

Depending on how you use your PC and how diligent you are in maintaining it, it’s not unusual for things to slow down and even break down after a few years.

Before giving up on your computer and paying for a new one, consider refreshing it by backing up your important files and reloading the base operating system using the recovery software that was included with your PC.

It’s not always fun to reload a computer, but in most cases it can really breathe new life into your hardware.

Most name-brand computers have recovery software located on a separate partition on the hard drive which can be used for this. Consult you documentation for the process.

Q: I just got a new computer with Windows 10 and I can’t seem to sort out how to create a shortcut on my desktop. Can you tell me how this is done?

A: Have shortcuts on your Windows desktop can be very useful when there are documents and applications you want to be able to access quickly.

The easiest way to do this is to click the Search icon and type in the name of the file you want and then right click it and select Open File Location.

This will open File Explorer and show you the location of the file. You can then right click and hold the icon and drag it to the desktop and drop it. You will then be presented with a menu where you choose to copy it, move it or create a shortcut to it.

You can also right click on a blank spot on your Desktop and choose New and then Shortcut and browse to the file location and select it.

helpline@chron.com

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