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Old 01-18-2021, 01:03 PM   #41
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Default Re: The longest you've ever used a single system?

I think I've had too many failures to consider something as "running" a long time, but there is some "continuity" as the disk image tends to be retained (i.e., I never reinstall the OS when I don't have to!) Does a "single" system include if PSU fails? motherboard fails and gets swapped? CPU fails and gets upgraded? hard drive fails and gets upgraded?

Monitor fails?
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:25 PM   #42
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Default Re: The longest you've ever used a single system?

Well, that was actually kind of fun reading back through the old posts in this thread. So thanks for reviving it, TechGeek.

In regards to the topic, the system I've used the longest I think is a tie between my current Dell Optiplex 170L desktop "main PC" and my Dell Latitude C600/C500 (model PP01L) laptop.

I got the Dell Latitude laptop around 2009 or 2010, IIRC, and first set it up only as a temporary system to help with homeworks while in college (but when I didn't feel like sitting on a desk.) I didn't actually have a laptop prior to this, so it quickly evolved into my main laptop for college (though I didn't carry it with me very frequently, due to its weight.) Back then, its original battery would still hold charge for about 1 hour, and XP was still supported by most browsers and websites, so I didn't have a problem using it. I finished college and still kept that laptop around as a portable copy of my desktop, more or less (it only had a 20 GB HDD in it, so I didn't have all my data on there - just what I needed/used most often.) In the summer of 2018, the 20 GB Hitachi HDD finally decided enough was enough, as it frequently ran 50-55C in that laptop, and sometimes up to 60-61C in the hotter summer months. The HDD didn't completely die - it just corrupted a bunch of sectors in the MFT, causing a partial data loss and no boot for the OS. I was able to get the OS running on the original HDD for the most part and restore the corrupted files... but at this point, having such an old laptop in 2018 as a main laptop didn't make any more sense. So I put a 6 GB SSD in it instead, and now use it purely just around my workbench for looking up datasheets and providing audio signals to the occasional audio project. So it's still in use, but not like before. Thus, I consider 2018 to have been its "end-of-life" date, despite still keeping it around.

So that's 8 good years of use I got out of it. Impressive!
What's more impressive, though, is that I got this laptop 2nd hand... or more likely 3rd hand, actually. If I'm not mistaken, this laptop was originally purchased by a local CDW office here. After they got done using it for a few years, they donated it to a local NGO office I used to volunteer at in the IT department. When they were done with using the laptop in that NGO (I think somewhere around 2007 or 2008, after which, this thing was just stored), it was destined for the dump... and that's where I stepped in. So this thing has provided a total useful service life for about 15-16 years, plus give or take 1-2 years in storage. As far as I know, it hasn't had any major failures, aside from that last one with the HDD. But that one might actually be related to a few previous issues I had with the laptop - mainly POST taking forever and HDD throwing UltraATA CRC Errors due to poor connection between mobo and HDD, which I imagine stemmed from the laptop being carried around so much. I know I took it across the Atlantic and back at least 6 times while visiting relatives in Europe. Also lugged it in classes for a good few years and even dropped it a few times while in my backpack. But still, 18 years!!! And still working!

Meanwhile, the Dell Optiplex 170L desktop started its life a bit later - sometime in 2005. It was purchased by a local park authority, I think, and used as a kiosk/guest sign in PC up until some time in 2012. That's when it was retired. In a similar way that I got the Dell Latitude laptop above, this desktop was offered to me around late 2012 from a colleague at that same local NGO I used to volunteer at. He said he was friends with the guy who worked at the local park authority office, which had 3-4 computers they were getting rid of. My colleague took a laptop and a desktop, and then had these two Optiplex 170L desktops that were kind of a "leftovers" that no one else wanted. So, since they were destined for recycling/trash, I took them. Around 2012, these still seemed like pretty decent machines to me. After all, I was using a dumpster-picked Pentium 3 HP Pavilion desktop that was getting a bit too outdated for the web. As such, I cleaned and setup both of these Optiplex 170L PCs with XP Pro SP2 OEM, as per their COAs. The 2nd one, I gave to a family friends of ours who needed a desktop at the time. It wasn't that great of a PC for them, but it still ran way faster than their Core i5 laptop that was bogged to death with junk on the OS.

Meanwhile, I was moving to a different college at the beginning of 2013, so I figured I'd use this 170L as my main PC there. But even after graduating, I still kept this as my main PC, as it now had so much music, pictures, and all kinds of other data and programs on it. Moreover, I just didn't feel the need to move to a new main PC yet. Plus, it had proven itself as a very reliable system - even the summer heat in my 2nd college apartment didn't kill it, where temperatures in the summer and early fall reached 95-100F / 35-38C indoors for a few weeks! Heck, I barely survived those. But this PC? -No problems! And it was relatively fast, too - for what I needed it to do, anyways. I even had a few classmates in college prefer to use my PC over the i5 and i7 PCs we had on campus, simply because mine was that much more responsive.

In terms of reliability, I've only had a few hickups with this PC: 1st one was the CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive going out, making the PC hang on boot and alluding me to think the HDD had crashed. No such thing - I removed the optical drive and system posted right away. I eventually did fix that optical drive (fix posted here.) Then a year or two later, the OS said one time on boot that it had a missing or corrupt file. HDD did actually report the occasional "bad block" in system event logs, but it's been doing that since the start of me setting up that PC. (Also, I can't seem to pull SMART logs on the Samsung HDD in that PC for some reason - no PC can read that HDD's SMART data.) Anyways, when the OS reported that error, I thought that was it and that I'd need to reinstall the OS or move to a different PC. Then I remembered, this was one of the few PCs where I didn't have system restore turned off. So I just restarted the PC, selected "Last Known Good Configuration" from the F8 boot menu and... TA-DA! We're back in business! This was like 2 or 3 years ago now.

So, that Optiplex 170L has served me as a main PC from 2013... and still is, as of present (early 2021, right now.) In fact, it's 8th birthday was just a few weeks ago since I set it up and started using it. And if you count the number of years it did as a kiosk PC in that park authority office, the system is probably over 15 years old now and still serving! PSU, CPU, and motherboard are all original parts. 1 of the RAM sticks was upgraded by the park authority place sometime (1x 256 MB stick --> 1x 1 GB stick for total of 1.25 GB of RAM.) I upgraded the RAM last year to 2x 1 GB sticks, as that 1.25 GB od-ball configuration was starting to kick a bit low for web use. While at it, I also added an 80 mm fan (running @ 7V) to blow some air across the hot NB chipset heatsink. I might upgrade the CPU sometimes this year, before probably retiring it in the next year or two. Also have a much better GPU (GeForce 8400 GS PCI) I might put in there... but we will see. In any case, even after "retirement", I'll probably still keep it around as a secondary PC to mess around with (and since I have a lot of data on there.)

So, between the Dell Latitude C500 laptop and the Dell Optiplex 170L desktop... I can't say which I've used longer. Both the C500 laptop and 170L desktop have provided me with service for 8 years. And while I've had the C500 laptop for a longer time, I think I've put way more hours on the 170L. Thus, I think the 170L takes the crown as the longest I've used a system (and remember, it still is as of this writing.) But the C500 is certainly a notable, respectable opponent.

Last edited by momaka; 01-20-2021 at 07:31 PM..
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:41 PM   #43
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Default Re: The longest you've ever used a single system?

I guess for what it's worth.... It's amazing how PC's today age so much slower than they used to. When I think that I'm using ~12yr old technology in a PC I build 9yrs ago and its still an ass kicker..... I love it.

I remember back in the PC 'golden era' (1990's~early 2000's), the useful lifespan of a PC was 3~5yrs...as the technology evolved so fast back they became slow beyond practical use....a gaming rig was about half that. It has slowed to a crawl it seems since ~2010, as there hasn't really been huge leaps & bounds in CPU development; the Ryzen was probably the most note-worthy CPU advancement in the last ~10 years. GPU's haven't even gone crazy with major advancements either.... Hell a 1080Ti is will ~$400ish for a used one, and it's an old ass card in 'computer years'.....

Ohh well....I'm rambling....just throwing in a couple cents...
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:21 PM   #44
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Default Re: The longest you've ever used a single system?

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I remember back in the PC 'golden era' (1990's~early 2000's), the useful lifespan of a PC was 3~5yrs...
Yes, they seemed to age sort of like milk (obsolescence-wise) in the 1990s, despite the hardware would easily last a long time!

They aged even more like milk for a lot of hardware manufactured in the early-2000s and the mid-2000s! At least enough for us to sound an alarm! (for cheapo stuff)

Back in the 1990s and the 2000s up to 2005, I had a harder time keeping up with the evolution of software! The hardest of all for me was, emulating a Nintendo 64, LOL! That was the motivator of a lot of processor upgrades in a short time! CPU, more so than the GPU, during the early-2000s and the mid-2000s.
That was why I got an Athlon 900 Mhz in 2001! (T-bird)

T-bird, was the cat's meow from AMD in the early-2000s!

Generation Z'ers will say that I'm old, LOL! Same with generation Y'ers that are almost as young as generation-Z! They likely would look at me like I saw the 1970s!
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Old 01-22-2021, 04:21 AM   #45
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Default Re: The longest you've ever used a single system?

Acer Aspire T310 desktop, 2004-2019. Before the PC died the original 40GB Seagate HDD, and a trash-find 60GB Seagate of very similar design (found in 2006) had both clocked upwards of 140000 hours (yes, 140 thousand, not 14).

The PC basically ran 24/7 with its original Windows XP SP1 since new in 2004 until the fan controller chip failed in July 2019, stopping every single fan in its tracks (except the hard-wired PSU fan). Yes, Service Pack 1 (with a few "critical" MS updates), meaning it maxed out with Firefox 12 where about 80% of websites in 2019 didn't even load.

The one and only repair it had in its entire life was the replacement of a power supply (the cheapo Teapos in the OEM 200W FSP lasted from 2004-2010, replaced the PSU with a $2 420W Thermal Master with a bunch of other junk caps (including Fuhjyyu primaries) which lasted until the PC's death). Well, not "death" per se, as it still turns on and loads fine, but it overheats within two minutes and shuts off when the CPU hits 90°C. I really can't be bothered forcing 5V or 12V straight to the CPU fan for a Pentium 4-era machine (a 2.8 GHz Northwood Celeron to be exact). The fan controller had been acting erratically for about a year or two prior (e.g. going from "idle" to pushing 3500+ rpm and back to idle, than back to 3500 etc. for ten minutes straight despite the temperature being as low as 8°C in the room during the middle of winter (July = winter here), SpeedFan once showed the CPU's temperature being 19°C while the fans were sounding like a jet taking off) but I just swapped fans to a quieter one because I was sick of it revving up and down all the time.

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Old 01-22-2021, 12:20 PM   #46
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That was why I got an Athlon 900 Mhz in 2001! (T-bird)

T-bird, was the cat's meow from AMD in the early-2000s!
It doesn't quite count as a system in continuous use, since I haven't used the board for some ~15 years, but I pulled out a DFI AM33-EC Socket-A mobo from my stash, plugged in a T-bird 1.4 GHz (not officially supported), 128 MB of PC133 SDRAM - and it posted and passed Memtest86+ just fine today. In its era, I ran RedHat 7.3 on it and used it as my primary development/build machine for a while.

The board and proccy are some 19+ years old. I recapped the board in 2006, and then a few more caps c.2015, but everything else is stock. I could probably use it again as a legacy build platform if I get some cheap PC133 256 or 512 MB DIMMs.

The other idea is to gut a PowerMac G3 (translucent Bondi Blue), do some case mods, and fit his board in it to get a legacy RH 7.3 Linux box out of it. It requires a bit of cutting and drilling, though.

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Old 01-22-2021, 02:37 PM   #47
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Default Re: The longest you've ever used a single system?

My daily rig has seen some use sometimes left on non stop for about 8 years the board is like 12 years old :

Cooler master elite 361
Corsair CX430 been recapped fully
ASUS M5A78L AM3
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AMD ATHLON X3 450 3.2 GHZ CPU
Artic cooling alpine 64pro cooler
GTX1080 ti been used for about a year
2x be quiet 80mm rear exhaust fans ran at 7v
2x be quiet 120mm fans one exhaust at 5v other is wired into PSU and cools that
4x Samsung 840 series 250gb SSDS-traded these for a cheap 43” Smart Led TV I fixed for free
Windows 10......

The system has parts with high use but has never failed or broken down. With the motherboard I change the north and south bridge heatsink paste when I clean the system as them chips get hot, but it’s never had one issue guess it is old now though, I’ve no reason to upgrade though the case is convenient and looks good for where I have it set up.
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Old 01-22-2021, 08:58 PM   #48
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Default Re: The longest you've ever used a single system?

Figured I'd kick in a few other systems here.

Every one of my primary Tech Room systems (except for my APCUPSD server) have been in continuous service since December 2017. The APCUPSD server went out of service in September of 2018 and was out of service between then and June 2020 because I didn't have a UPS to attach to that system.

The firewall system is really showing it's age at this point. It's an excellent little machine for what it is (Advantech UNO-3072LA w/ Intel Atom N270), but it's time is running out as more and more Linux distributions kill off x86 support. And given that the i486 architecture is on the chopping block, chances are, i586 is likely not far behind. Either way, it's slated for replacement sometime this year. It was previously used in a hospital lab from 2009 through 2017 when I got it.

The Main Office Computer sports an AMD FX-series CPU and is beginning to show it's age. But an upgrade to 8GB of DDR3 will certainly keep it going a few more years, especially considering it has a 64-bit CPU. But when time gets ahold of it on 8GB DDR3, that will mark the end of that system's service life.

My main computer is also just starting to show it's age, especially with the CPU. It's still got a few years of service life left in it for me, and even past then, it would make a good workstation/gaming/video editing system for someone else who's just starting off.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:28 PM   #49
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The PC basically ran 24/7 with its original Windows XP SP1 since new in 2004 until the fan controller chip failed in July 2019, stopping every single fan in its tracks (except the hard-wired PSU fan). Yes, Service Pack 1 (with a few "critical" MS updates), meaning it maxed out with Firefox 12 where about 80% of websites in 2019 didn't even load.
SP1, is grossly out-of-date! You needed SP3!
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:49 PM   #50
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SP1, is grossly out-of-date! You needed SP3!
LOL...SP3 isnt much better these days.... You have to know how to keep it safe manually....
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:42 AM   #51
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Still running Gentoo on my 32-bit N270 Atom netbook... and yes I'm still using this machine including keeping it up to date!
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Old 01-24-2021, 05:56 AM   #52
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HI, I had a 2010 MacBook Pro 13" for 10 years and only replaced it because it would not go further than High Sierra. Opinions vary but for me this sealed the Mac deal and I will never be a PC user again based on this experience.
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Old 01-24-2021, 06:11 PM   #53
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LOL...SP3 isnt much better these days.... You have to know how to keep it safe manually....
Well, not quite.
SP1 and base version SP2 have a vulnerability that will still get you the DownAdUp worm infection even today, usually within hours of connecting your PC online - even with firewall.

That said, there is a standalone patch for SP2 that can be installed to mend this security hole (KB958644.) But you will also need Windows Installer 3.0 for it (KB893803.)

SP3 already includes the above patches, so at least that takes care of those.

So you can run SP2 with the above patches or SP3, and at least the machine won't get instantly auto-infected online. Now add hardware firewall, disable Remote Assistance and DNS service, and add a good updated HOSTS file. These will keep XP relatively safe... for what it's worth anyways.

In the end, it all comes down to surfing habits. Visit any shady sites and it won't matter what OS you have that much. I've seen a lot of trashed 7 and 10 PCs with locked files/accounts from people downloading/viewing stupid crap.

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Old 01-24-2021, 09:28 PM   #54
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...that will still get you the DownAdUp worm infection even today, usually within hours of connecting your PC online - even with firewall....
I totally forgot about that one....I'm rusty! I dont connect an XP system to a live network until SP3 installed. I guess I need to slipstream it into an ISO some day....but I use it so seldom anymore...
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:06 PM   #55
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I totally forgot about that one....I'm rusty! I dont connect an XP system to a live network until SP3 installed.
Yeah, same - no internet until all patches (for SP2) or SP3 is installed and junk services turned off.

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I guess I need to slipstream it into an ISO some day....but I use it so seldom anymore...
I did that last year, but I still use my XP SP2 CD more for some reason.
And on that note, I too haven't done a whole lot of XP installs this year (actually, maybe only a few - and they were all temporary setups to test hardware.) I did a lot more Win7 ones, though. A few years back, it used to be the opposite - so much that I even had memorized the 25-character key on my XP VLK CD!
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:17 PM   #56
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...I even had memorized the 25-character key on my XP VLK CD!
As did I....and I still remember my W2K key.
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Old 01-27-2021, 10:35 AM   #57
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I've seen a lot of trashed 7 and 10 PCs with locked files/accounts from people downloading/viewing stupid crap.
I saw similar with pre-7!
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:25 AM   #58
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As did I....and I still remember my W2K key.
Haha, me too
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Old 01-31-2021, 11:01 PM   #59
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my video editing system i got in 2012 built in 2006 i have personally put 9 years on the C drive runs 24x7
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Old 02-01-2021, 07:56 AM   #60
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I totally forgot about that one....I'm rusty! I dont connect an XP system to a live network until SP3 installed. I guess I need to slipstream it into an ISO some day....but I use it so seldom anymore...
I have SP3 images for XP Pro (both Dell SLIC (OEM) and "Royal" for pre-SP2 COA stickers) on my server. If you want copies, let me know. Pretty much never use them any more...
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