June 24, 2018 0 By Muhammad

Have you ever been told that your computer should be upgraded? Back in the day, that was a technician’s money question, today, not so much. Unfortunately, there are still quite a lot of misconceptions surrounding the topic of computer upgrades so I shall attempt to shed some light on this matter. I recently had a conversation with a young lady who was convinced that she needed to upgrade her computer because it was bought in 2000. Did she need an upgrade or an update?

What is an Upgrade?

I shall reiterate once more that I view a computer as an electronic tool, a programmable one, but a tool nevertheless. As an electronic tool, it is subject to hardware and software improvements. When faced with the question of whether or not to upgrade a computer, I usually ask a few questions first to determine if the client really wants an upgrade or an update. In the world of computers. there is a major difference between an update and an upgrade. Upgrades refer mainly to changes in the computer hardware, while updates refer primarily to software changes. It is important to note that difference especially if you are new to the world of computing.
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Update my Computer Vs Upgrade my Computer

In the technological world, time flies by quickly. Words gain new meanings and language changes rapidly. What you say to a technician will determine the scope of the task and the size of your bill. A consumer requesting an upgrade is asking the technician to perform physical changes to the hardware (physical) parts of the computer. This may require the removal and replacement of the video card, the hard-drives, cables, memory, etc., BUT, it does not require unwarranted changes to the SOFTWARE (programming). That requires an Update. Physical problems with the computer’s operation also determine what upgrades may be needed.

How to Update a computer

Updates, on the other hand, address the functionality and capability of the software (programs) operating on the computer. The goal is to ensure the software being used is the latest version released by the developers. Vital upgrades affect primarily the main operating systems (OS) such as Windows (for pc) and OSx (for Macs) as well as every other program on the machine. It is not unusual to receive a free Windows upgrade from Microsoft as a normal process of using a Windows pc. Because every function of the computer is affected by software, frequent updates are necessary to keep your machine operating at its peak. Most modern computer manufacturers provide automatic support for the operational software as needed. Other software usually prompt the user to update them by informing their users of new releases. The technician’s role in a computer update is primarily to ensure all the computer’s software has been reset to the latest available version. In some cases, this may require an upgrade of several physical parts, eg. video card or memory.

Update this Computer

At this point, computer owners should be aware that requests that a technician “update this computer” is not as simple as it may sound. Depending on the technician’s findings, you might find that you simply need an update to your software rather than an upgrade of your hardware. While all but the latest, unused computers can benefit from some physical, hardware improvements, many hardware changes are not needed by consumers in their current environments. As long as your computer is performing as required at the tasks for which it is used, it is fine. If, on the other hand, it is demonstrating physical problems when in use, like sticking keys, memory, video or storage problems, incorrect calculations or processing, etc, then hardware upgrades may be necessary. Technicians who do not thoroughly explain the ramifications of “upgrading” the computer, to its owner, are doing a disservice to the profession. As a customer, you may find yourself biting off more than you may be prepared to chew.

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How to Optimize a Computer

Optimization is the process of internal maintenance of the machine and its parts to enable it to perform at its best under normal circumstances. This is done mainly through automatic software updates by most computer manufacturers. Every computer, except for the very newest, barely used ones, can benefit from optimization. Although it is not an absolute, urgent necessity, all computers require optimization at one time or another. Modern computers have built-in functions to optimize vital processes such as data and program storage. For hardware optimization, a technician’s assistance is needed. In my personal experience as a technician, few computer owners have ever utilized the full potential of their computer’s memory or video capacity. Upgrading the hardware to its maximum capability through simple video and memory changes will provide uses hitherto unknown to the owner. The computer is subject to many physical upgrades, inclusive of its video card, memory, hard-drives, processor, removable storage, aka dvd or cd. Any change in any of those physical components, accompanied by the required firmware updates, will result in amazing transformations to your current computer. Before attempting these changes, please seek the advice of a competent computer technician.

Closing Thoughts

Although this has been a mere overview of the topic, it is my hope that I have thrown some light on the issue. Your computer does not necessarily need any modifications if you are satisfied with its current performance and capability. Where the discontentment comes in, is when you attempt to utilize software programs beyond your computer’s current capabilities. Every program is written for a particular operating environment and if you don’t have that environment, you won’t be able to use it. This may require your purchase of a different computer. Note, too, that in some cases, rather than upgrading, it may be more practical and affordable to replace your current computer with another, more capable machine. Ultimately, the decision to upgrade or not is your personal decision. If you have additional ideas or questions about this matter, I would love for you to state them in the comment section below. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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