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1 October 2020

Most reliable desktop PC brands

When it comes to buying a desktop, you want a machine that's built to last. Our survey uncovers the best and most reliable desktop PC brands, based on feedback from real owners.
Desktop pc reliability 469526
TM
Tom Morgan

We surveyed more than 2,000 Which? members in 2018 to find out which desktop PC brands genuine customers would recommend. Table-topping brands won't let you down, but even some big-name brands can be plagued by faults and poor reliability.

The latest figures show that the most common desktop PC faults include frozen screens, dodgy disc drawers and spontaneous reboots.

You can easily spend several hundred pounds on a new PC. For that kind of money, you want to know that you're buying from a brand that won't let you down within a few short years. Keep scrolling to see how the likes of Apple, Dell and Lenovo faired in our most recent computing reliability survey.

Ready to choose a new computer? See our desktop PC reviews.

Below, we've rounded up the results of our reliability survey for each big-name desktop PC brand.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Which desktop PC brands are the most reliable?

Brand name Reliability rating Customer score
Member icon
83%
Member icon
74%
Member icon
70%
Member icon
77%
Member icon
71%
Member icon
75%
Member icon
75%
Member icon
62%
Table notes

Reliability rating and customer score based on feedback from 2,349 desktop-owning Which? members, surveyed in July 2018.

Which desktop PC brand stays fault free longest?

The graph below shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares to the worst brand and the average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults and which are the best and worst in the table underneath.

Brand name Fault-free after one year Fault-free after five years
Member icon
95% 80%
Member icon
96% 89%
Member icon
91% 75%
Member icon
93% 70%
Member icon
94% 82%
Member icon
93% 82%
Member icon
95% 83%
Member icon
94% 71%
Member icon
96% 82%
Table notes: Reliability rating and customer score based on feedback from 2,349 desktop-owning Which? members, surveyed in July 2018

Common desktop PC problems

Thanks to feedback from Which? members, we're able to highlight the common issues affecting desktop PC owners.

Of the total faults reported in this year's reliability survey, these were the most common that were cited:

  • 25% - Windows update caused a compatibility problem
  • 15% - Hard disk failed
  • 8% - Computer stopped working for unknown reason

If you're dealing with a PC that won't boot up, check the wiring leading into the back of the machine. After all, you don't want to spend big on a new PC just to find out a broken power cable was to blame. Otherwise, you might want to try starting it up in safe mode. Keep tapping the F8 key as soon as you switch the computer on to access it. With safe mode enabled, you'll be able to run a diagnostic scan to hopefully find the cause of the problem.

We've also seen plenty of reports of broken hard drives. You might need to manually install a replacement, but if you're able to, back up your data using a cloud storage service or a USB device before doing so.

A frozen screen can be solved with a forced shutdown, but you'll lose the apps and documents you had open. You may want to try pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del to manually access Task Manager and end frozen apps one by one. Out of date video drivers can also cause graphical issues, so we suggest contacting the manufacturer of your PC's graphics card.

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