computer keys, keyboard

People spend a day every year waiting for old computers to boot up

People in Britain spend a day every year waiting for old computers to boot up, research has revealed.

Rather than upgrading to a new PC, users are putting up with slower machines that often freeze and overheat, the study from Microsoft found. As a result, many people have hit or shouted at their computer in frustration.

The average home computer is 3.4 years old, according to the study. The owners of these PCs are being forced to wait 23.5 hours every year for their machine to boot up – 65% longer than those who bought a device in the past six months.

They are also waiting three-and-a-half times longer than average to fix issues such as freezing and viruses, caused by outdated batteries, processors and software. As a result, two-thirds of Brits with computers aged five to 10 years admitted to hitting or shouting at them, while a further 6% broke down in tears.

This trend of failing to keep their devices up to date gets worse as their owners get older, the research found. One-in-five people aged 55 or over still uses a computer that’s at least five years old.

In a bid to remind PC owners to upgrade their gadgets, Microsoft has developed a mini-series entitled “Under the Keys”. Starring comedian Holly Walsh as an ageing computer component, each episode highlights some of the nation’s biggest grievances with technology – including storage space and battery life.

“Everyone’s had an old piece of tech they rely on, despite the fact that it’s probably super slow and constantly on the brink of crashing,” Walsh said. “Under the Keys encapsulates some of these modern-day irritations with clapped-out laptops and other boringly inefficient technology. I had so much fun playing the character of Tab-atha – an out-of-date computer component.”

Microsoft’s research, which focused on 2,000 adults in the UK, found that people were outdated in their technology knowledge, too. Most PC users said it would be 2.4 years before they could use facial recognition to improve security and access their machine, while 42% said they didn’t think it was possible to control a computer using voice commands, and 86% didn’t believe PCs had digital personal assistants – all of these are available on many Windows 10 devices.

Ryan Asdourian, Windows and Surface Lead UK at Microsoft, said: “We can be very tolerant about our old PCs, and the Under the Keys series was created as a light-hearted take on the frustrations many people encounter every day. Whether it’s overheating, viruses or slow start-ups, many people waste time each day as they rely on tech that was once great, but is now past its best.

“Most of these issues can be solved with Windows 10 as all-new Windows PCs take advantage of various software and security updates. This means we can spend less time waiting and more time doing great things, thanks to features like Cortana, Edge, Windows Ink and many more.”