TECH BRIEFS: To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade? That is the question!
Posted by James Ott Jr on 16th July 2017
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Photo Credit: soemoe.blogspot.com

A Brief Instruction on Diagnosing Your Computer

There are many reasons for a faster computer. It just cannot play the games you want. Or maybe it stutters every time you go to open your favorite program. Maybe your battery just doesn’t have the same lifespan it used to. Or quite possibly, you just have new computer fever. The bigger question, however, is whether to upgrade or replace it.

I have customers ask me this question on a regular basis. The first place to look is always your existing computer. While I plan to focus on the Windows Operating Systems, the concepts are the same if you have a MAC or Linux PC. Many people have a tendency to forget that the Windows Operating System will take up a decent amount of resources just to run. Here are the baseline requirements to install the different versions of Windows.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Windows Logo

If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here’s what it takes:
   – Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
   – RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
   – Hard Disk Space: 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
   – Graphics Card: DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

If you want to run Windows 8.1 on your PC, here’s what it takes:
   – Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
   – RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
   – Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
   – Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 driver

If you want to run Windows 10 on your PC, here’s what it takes:
   – Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
   – RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
   – Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
   – Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 driver

What they forget to mention is that after Windows completely boots up, you do not have much in the way of resources to run anything else. An old rule of thumb is to take the baseline requirements and double them. This will allow you to have some amount of resources to run the other programs that you want to use. Some programs take more resources to run than others. Depending on the program, your system may not be able to properly run what you want to run. A simple upgrade may be all that you need.

Diagnosing with Occam’s Razor

“Occam’s razor (or Ockham’s razor) is a principle from philosophy. Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case, the simpler one is usually better.” – Wikipedia

The flip side of the coin to upgrading is whether or not your components are starting to fail. Just looking at the basic performance of your computer may determine if your computer is starting to fail. Battery cells wear out, hard drives fail, and pixels on your screen can burn out. If your computer is less than five years old, a repair is actually easier and cheaper than you think. ESET offers a free SysInspector Tool that can “troubleshoot a wide range of system issues“. It can be a bit daunting, but rest assured, no changes are made with this software. It is purely diagnostics only. Here is a great short tutorial on this software that can help you use this free product.

Tutorial from CappTech

But what if your computer is outdated? Older technology does have issues running newer software programs. An important item is to check the requirements of the software. Programs like Quickbooks and Diablo 3 can be very taxing on a computer. When you run into these virtual walls, your only option may be to upgrade. A quick comparison may reveal to you what your needs are versus what you already have.


So should you upgrade? Ultimately the choice is yours. There can be additional factors like time and budget that can also steer you towards a specific end goal. A computer upgrade does not have to be as daunting as reading Hamlet, but it should help you avoid a Great Tragedy!

Photo Credit: knowyourmeme.com