I have a great question (if I do say so myself).
I was one of the original Gateway owners in my area, so the age of my Gateway is getting up there.
I recently took a desktop PC to a PC repair shop and was surprized to learn that practically speaking, a PC should only be relied on for 4 or 5 years, maximum.
Since a Gateway is really only a machine with a lot of electronics and a mechanical hard drive, much like a PC, the same should be applicable.
BUT, (and I've asked and never received a clear answer) what if one has always used their Gateway with an external expander (external hard drive) ? When a Gateway has an external HD installed does the Gateway use both, the internal 500 GB HD and the 1TB expander or just the expander.
If the Gateway only uses the expander, then it would be easy (and likely advisable) to drain (watch) all those old programs from the memory and reinstall a new expander every 4 years or so. If the Gateway uses both it's own HD (and it likely does use it at least for it's software) and the expander then all the wear and tear from daily recording will take it's toll on the internal HD as well.
I'm having absolutely no problems with my Gateway, (except the general systemic guide slowness everyone is having).