10 Computer myths debunked: common misconceptions about computer repair

Just like urban legends, there are a few common misconceptions about computer repair that a lot of people believe. Because of how they’ve been talked about so much, people do start to believe them. However, some of these are not true. Oftentimes believing in these myths can lead to misdiagnosis or improper treatment of computer issues. They could make more trouble without fixing the real issue.

Even if some of these myths were true at some point of time, computer technology has advanced so far ahead that a lot of things have changed since then. Those truths don’t apply anymore, and become myths.

As computer repair experts, we thought we’d shed some light on these common misconceptions and bust these myths. Here are the top 10 computer repair myths busted.

1. We can repair only the failed part of a whole component

Most of the time when a piece of computer hardware is failing, you’ll need a full replacement of the part. Computer users will sometimes request to replace only a small part of the component, without understanding how the hardware works. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all computer parts, some parts we can indeed fix the problem area on its own.

Small parts that require complete replacements

An example of this would be laptop video card repairs. In most laptops, the video card is mounted and embedded on the motherboard. That means that it’s impossible to take it out from the motherboard without breaking it. So a laptop video card replacement essentially means a motherboard replacement. There is an exception though, for the Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch 2011 model. The video card on this Macbook is a known issue, which created a demand for an advanced method to replace the video card on its own.

On desktop iMacs from 2012 and onwards, a cracked glass panel on the screen would also call for a complete screen replacement. It is a fragile 27-inch screen panel, and cannot be replaced on its own. This would cost at least $700 to replace the whole screen.

For laptop keyboards, even when one key is not working properly, the whole keyboard needs to be replaced. Each key cap that is mounted on the keyboard is connected to its mechanics, and replacing the single key won’t fix the problem. The key could be jammed, or have accumulated rust on its connective points. Either way, we have to replace the whole keyboard to fix a keyboard failure.


Sometimes users might misdiagnose their laptop problems as well and request single replacements for the wrong part. We’ve gotten requests over the phone to replace the laptop screen hinge, which is a solid metal part that is quite hard to break. It usually is either the front bezel or back cover of the screen, or the upper cover of the keyboard that is actually broken. These parts may also require complete replacement of the screen, depending on the model of laptop.

2. Batteries last forever

Contrary to some belief, laptop batteries are consumable parts. They last 2-4 years, depending on use and charging cycles. We can expect these batteries to fail just in the same way as the batteries in toys, cameras, and phones.

Failing laptops can expand, leak corrosive liquid, or even heat up quickly and catch fire. So if you notice an error message like “service battery”, or “replace battery”, it’s best you get that checked out as soon as possible.

3. You need to drain your laptop’s power before charging the battery

Apple Macbook laptop charger

Laptop batteries are lithium-ion batteries, which allow you to charge it many times without harming its battery life. It will continue to hold charge even after multiple charge cycles.

Some computer users believe that it would benefit battery life to drain the laptop’s power before charging it again. There’s actually no real proof of this, and you can even leave the power cable plugged in the whole time you use the laptop as well.

4. My laptop is not turning on because of a dead battery

Unless your laptop is not plugged in and has no power, this statement is not true. A laptop does not need a working battery to turn on. As long as it has a power supply from the charging cable, it should turn on and boot up just fine.

When a laptop is not turning on at all, this would usually mean a more serious hardware issue. A part essential to the start up process may be faulty, and is causing your laptop to be unresponsive. You could likely have a hard drive or motherboard issue, or even have a faulty video card or RAM. Just remember, you probably don’t need a battery replacement when you can’t turn on your laptop.

5. Having lots of files will slow down your computer

Will having lots of files clog up your system and slow your computer down? The answer is, no. Having more files on your hard drive will only take up its storage space, and not its performance.

The thing that will slow down your computer is having lots of startup programs. These are apps that start running once you boot up your computer. This can cause slow boot up times, or slow down your computer’s performance. You can check on the impact of these startup programs from the “startup” tab of Task Manager. You may also disable these apps from starting automatically from boot up, to smooth things over.

6. A virus is making my computer go crazy

Computer viruses are often the scapegoats of computer issues. They are often blamed for most computer issues, which most of the time turn out to be a hardware issue. Most computer users don’t expect their hardware to fail, so they turn to thinking that they have a virus.

Something like the keyboard making jumbled or incorrect input or image distortions are often incorrectly thought to be virus infections. These are actually hardware failures that need replacing. A computer virus is a program that infects your OS, and can’t damage your hardware.

To be fair, computer virus infections can cause significant changes. Just not damage. Some signs of a virus infection include inappropriate pop-up windows, browser homepage changes, slow performance, and data security breaches. To combat this, make sure you’re browsing the web safely and install antivirus software to protect yourself.

7. Antivirus will stop me from having any computer virus

While antivirus can help you browse the web safely and protect your computer from viruses, there’s no guarantee. Even with a paid subscription of the best antivirus software, computer viruses today are very advanced and can be smart enough to find a way in.

Think of it this way: When we are sick, medicine or treatment from a doctor will cure your illness, but will not protect you from illness forever. Antivirus works the same way, it is definitely useful, but is not effective 100%.

8. Magnets can harm hard drives

magnet and paper clips

Because of how magnets can wipe floppy disks, some continue to believe that magnets can harm other storage devices like hard drives. Hard drives are quite sturdy, and can’t fall from a magnet. Unless it gets hit by substantial force, the hard drive cannot be damaged with simple domestic magnets.

The only magnets that can destroy a hard drive are industrial-strength ones only found in labs or junkyards. These are the magnets that can distort the drive. Otherwise, the only way to wipe a drive is by using software to overwrite its memory sectors multiple times.

9. Wiping the hard drive can fix bad sectors

Wiping a hard drive can delete everything off the drive, including all the files and the OS as well. Users might come up with this idea to fix a failing hard drive, but it will not fix the drive. Bad sectors are permanently damaged parts of the hard drive.

Wiping the drive will only remove the data stored on it, but you can’t necessarily “delete” bad sectors. The only way to fix a faulty hard drive is by replacing it completely. If the damage is not that bad yet, disk repair utilities can sometimes solve some soft bad sectors, but that is not a true fix. It may only buy you another year or so on the drive, until you have to deal with it properly.

10. Only techs can fix computer issues

Just like other DIY projects, you totally can fix your computer by yourself! Most computer hardware replacements are pretty straightforward. You won’t need to get a technician to do them.

Take hard drive replacements for example — they are installed just the same way they are taken out, just by unplugging and plugging in the SATA cable. Even tech beginners can try this and nail it on their first try.

While more advanced computer repairs like motherboard or battery replacements should be left to the professionals, we do encourage DIY repairs. Not only can this save you the time and money, but the sense of accomplishment that comes with it is a pretty good feeling too.

man working on laptop

Do your research

Computer myths that have sustained over time should definitely be debunked, as it can prevent you from diagnosing and repairing your computer properly. With a good amount of research, you should be equipped with the right tech know-how to treat your computer.

Need help with computer repairs in Sydney?

You might not all have the time or technological knowledge to deal with your computer issues on your own. That’s where we can help you out. At Safemode Computer Service, we offer the best professional computer repair services in Sydney. We can diagnose and repair computer issues like hard drive failure, liquid spill damage, and virus removal.

Located in the Inner West, our experienced technicians can help you diagnose your faulty computer in no time and offer the right advice to fix it. Call us about your computer issue, or visit our Enmore store today.