If a personal computer breaks, should it be repaired or replaced?
Many hotel companies have adopted a policy that a broken PC is not worth repairing and should be immediately replaced, and the old computers erased and donated to students or senior citizens. Other companies evaluate the condition of the malfunctioning PC to determine if it can be reasonably repaired.
In the early days of PCs, it was always more economical to perform repairs as replacement systems cost thousands of dollars. Even today, it can be more economical and quicker to repair a PC. There is no hard and fast rule for replacing vs. repairing of a PC, but these are some good parameters:  the age of the system (4 years or more should be considered outdated and replaced), the computer’s general condition, and how many times it has been repaired in the past.
The hardest problems to solve are when the symptoms are intermittent or there is more than one thing causing the malfunction.
Repairing a Computer
Analysis of exactly what is wrong may require a professional technician. When repairing a computer only new parts should be used as the expense of having to repair used part again will negate any initial savings.
Common areas of repair include:
·         A hard disk can fail frequently because they are mechanical and sensitive to heat. This makes frequent backups critical.
·         Add-in cards such as video, network, fax-modem and special use cards, all are easily changed out, but not always readily available.
·         The main motherboard is usually only available from the PC vendor and requires professional installation.
·         Peripherals that may not be installed in the PC but are critical to operations such as credit card readers and key making machines.
Some problems can be solved by identifying a simple, inexpensive work around. For example, if a touchpad on a laptop computer has gone bad, an external mouse can be used instead. There are many converters available that can convert USB to video, Ethernet network connections and several other replacement connections.
Warranty Repairs
Always verify if there is any warranty remaining on a system. Warranties are usually sold by the hardware vendor and are available through retailers. Warranty repairs can save a considerable amount of money, but be aware that warranty repairs do not always include reloading software, installing unique drivers, data recovery and configuration on the network. A preventative maintenance program with regular servicing can extend the life of personal computers.
Upgrading Existing Systems
Another option is to upgrade an existing PC, believing that the upgrade will solve most problems. Upgrading should not be confused with repair as an upgrade replaces critical parts that may have not malfunctioned yet. The most common upgrades are memory and a new hard drive. If the system supports it, it is best to install a solid-state drive (SSD) which replaces a mechanical one and is much faster. For a more detailed analysis of the configuration of an existing PC, a free program called speccy (https://www.piriform.com/speccy) can be downloaded.  The program shows RAM, motherboard, graphics, storage and other capacities of the computer.
Installing a Replacement PC
A new PC requires considerable time to download and install the applications that were on the old PC. Disk cloning, which makes a copy of the old PCs hard drive, is not always reliable, but when it works it is a time saver. Cloning requires special software that is not necessarily user friendly. A trained technician may be required for a successful completion.
Don’t be confused with PCs that are intended for the home market with commercial grade systems intended for use in a hotel. While some hotels use home market PCs, these tend to be of lesser quality and require more servicing and repair.
After installing a new PC, be sure to wipe clean the old hard drive. For this to be done properly special software is required to completely erase the drive.
Lastly, minimizing downtime is critical. In many cases, repair or replacement is required the same day. Parts can be obtained at a local PC store, as can a new computer. Some hotel companies require a certain computer brand, such as Dell or Lenovo.
The warranty available on a new system can vary per vendor. Many offer up to a three-year warranty on just parts or on parts and labor.  Others have guaranteed response times, like next day or even same day service, and as mentioned previously, hard drive data recovery and program reload is not typically included. However, most often a reloading of Windows operating system is included.
It is recommended to have at least a parts warranty on any new system.
It is usually best to evaluate a malfunctioning PC for potential repair, but if it meets the criteria mentioned above it should be replaced.