What Causes Computers to Fail?

We all know that computers fail at the most inconvenient times, but what causes them to do so? While your online gaming frenzy may have caused a short computer breakdown, typical user behaviors are rarely the cause of a malfunctioning computer.

Damage to the body

Accidents sometimes happen, but they don’t always necessitate the purchase of a new computer. Liquid spills are a significant issue while using an electrical equipment. This might be anything from a spill on the keyboard to an overuse of screen cleaner to a flood that reaches the computer. Laptop users should be especially cautious when picking a work surface, as little puddles are frequently left behind on café and kitchen tables. Even if the liquid didn’t destroy the circuits, corrosion and stickiness to jam up the internal parts are still a possibility. A computer that has been dropped, as well as one that has been knocked around, will not be happy. A simple thump of displeasure might result in loose cables, disconnections, and interior damage.


Moving parts of computers, such as fans and mechanical hard drives, are anticipated to last a certain amount of time. Some computers can run continuously for up to a decade, while others can be used sparingly but still fail within the guarantee period. When it comes to age, there are frequently early warning signs like increased noise or slowing down, but the real ‘break’ usually occurs when you want to turn on the computer, possibly after a crash or overnight – either it makes a brave effort before giving up, or it doesn’t turn on at all. Quality does play a huge impact in how long it can keep churning, and sometimes enduring age is luck of the draw with how it was constructed. In general, the less expensive a computer is, the less likely it is to last.

Surges in Power

We like to think of energy as a constant stream that never changes, but computers are especially vulnerable to both surges (too much power) and brownouts (too little power) (not enough electricity). During a brownout, you might notice the lights dimming or flickering, or blazing a little too brightly during a surge. These fluctuations don’t last long, and you can’t control them unless it’s only your house (in which case, check with your neighbors), but they can easily ruin your computer. Although a surge protector can protect against minor power fluctuations, brownouts and large surges can still cause damage. Consider purchasing an Uninterruptible Power Supply if you reside in an area where surges and brownouts are regular (UPS). They start at roughly $100 and will prevent your devices from failing prematurely.

Overheating is a major cause of early computer mortality.

Some computer components get hot and require a lot of cooling to keep them running. Internal components can quickly build up heat that needs to be dissipated, even if you can’t see it from the outside. When dust or pet hair clogs your airflow vents, the temperature rises to the point where the components bake themselves to death. The computer will turn off to try to cool down when it reaches a certain temperature; however, the more often this happens and the higher the temperature, the more likely your computer may perish. Laptops are substantially more affected than PCs by this issue. It’s critical to keep the vents free of debris!

Failure of a Hard Drive

Your data is saved on a hard drive, which functions like a record player with a spinning ‘platter’ and a needle that reads it if you have a mechanical hard drive (which most people do). Hard drive failure can be caused by small bumps, liquid, aging, surges, or overheating. Hard disk failure can not only render your computer unusable, but it can also result in the loss of your data – not always, but there is a good risk! While a sudden failure may catch you off guard, keep an eye out for unusual noises or frequent failures and back up your data ahead of time.
Your computer, like a car, need regular maintenance. We may examine your computer both physically and in terms of software to ensure that it is operating properly and will continue to serve you. Call us or schedule an appointment today!