Murphy's law 'if anything can go wrong, it will and at the worst possible time"
This law was proven when one of our clients, who had an old main computer that was causing problems and despite many warning from us and other, he refused to change broken down on Christmas eve in the middle of his biggest shopping day of the year. So he had NO point of sale! He had no time to look around, get quotes or get organised. So he just had to buy the first big computer he could, get an engineer out and we had to help them get up and running which we did but it took a few hours. It was not a good time, to lose all the tills. It will cost this business, for example, in wages alone, as this engineer had to come back to straighten out many points over Christmas, as there was no time to do a standard update so there will be considerable overtime involved too.
Every computer will fail. It is just a matter of time. Generally like here, it gradually grinds down like this one and then suddenly stops. Fortunately rarely as spectacularly like this one as most people do replace their computers long before this happens.
As a rule, it looks like the blue line in this graph, and it seems to be true of everything, computers, cars, people, etc.
At the start, you tend to get a lot of teething problems, which rapidly get sorted out. Then you get for a long time very few problems and after that as the item starts get more problems, and they never stop coming. That is when we tend to sell the car, junk the TV, etc.
Here are two ideas you can do to reduce the problem.
1) Monitor and record problems on your computer, to determine where it is on the cycle. If you have someone who is computer literate, you could use some monitoring software which can give you advanced warning. I recommend PRTG available here. It's free version should be more than enough for most of our clients. It will monitor just about everything on your computer system.
2) As the average useful lifespan of a computer is commonly considered to being three to five years. Make sure that your important equipment like your main computer is relatively new and working well. If not consider moving it to a less critical spot and putting something better in there.