How Upgrading Can Make Your Old Laptop Feel like New
If your laptop is getting old, it may be beginning to slow down to the point where you're considering replacing it. But for less than the price of a new machine, you can give your old laptop an upgrade that will make it feel like new.
As many as 171 million people in America own a laptop. With technology constantly pushing the envelope, you might feel like your laptop is getting left behind. Wait, before you drop another $1,000-$2,000 on a new laptop, there may be a way to squeeze a few more years out of yours.
Laptops start feeling slow for a number of reasons, it's usually not because software has become too demanding. Operating systems have actually become more lightweight, it's not like smartphone inadequacies.
For more info on how upgrade your old laptop and speed up your computer, see if you have done any of the following steps:
Use a Solid State Drive
If you have never heard of one, an SSD is essentially a hard drive with no moving parts. If your old laptop came with a standard hard drive, then you're dealing with very slow technology. These old hard drives use physically moving parts that need to be spun, scanned, and take about 10 times or more to do the same task as a SSD.
Old hard drives are also noisy and are more prone to failure these days. One of the most popular and reliable SSD units you can buy is the Samsung MZ line. They're worth the investment and can be installed very easily. You can either look up a YouTube tutorial or take it into any computer shop and they'll do it for you for free.
More RAM = More Multi-tasking
Do you notice your laptop slowing down when you try to open more than one program at once? Want to listen to Spotify and browse Facebook, but hate the delays or music skips that happen? It's probably your RAM running out.
RAM is basically virtual slots that hold tasks, programs, and temporary data. When you're streaming a movie, RAM holds onto a chunk of it for you, so that if your internet hiccups, your movie won't pause. More RAM lets you open up programs faster and more of them.
This is especially true when you're online browsing for a long time, have a bunch of tabs open, and have been scrolling through social media feeds for awhile. Even the best laptops will slow down if they don't have the RAM.
If you're stuck with only 4 GB of RAM, you should opt to at least double it, if not triple. Check how many RAM slots you have and then you can shop for either an additional stick or a complete replacement.
Too Many Startup Programs
Whenever you install new programs, they usually ask to be added to your startup. This isn't usually a problem if you have a SSD, plenty of RAM, and a multi-core processor. If you lack any of these three components, your could be stuck waiting forever for your old laptop to boot.
Plus, if you have a bunch of programs running in the background, it can take away resources from your browser, music player, and etc. This is an easy fix, thankfully. If you're running Windows 10, continue reading; if you don't, go upgrade as soon as possible!
In Windows 10, you simply right-click the taskbar at the bottom, choose 'task manager', and navigate to the 'start up' tab. Here you will find a list of all the programs that have permission to start when the computer boots. If you see any programs you know you don't use often, uncheck them.
You won't be deleting these programs, just leaving them on the shelf for when you actually need them. With a SSD, starting these programs on-demand is fast anyways.
If you own a Mac or older version of Windows, follow this guide here.
Uninstall Problem Apps
It's possible that taking apps off of startup may not be enough to rid your slow laptop from the handicap. Some programs are really aggressive and invasive, essentially like a piece of malware (more on that below). To fix this problem, you will need to uninstall any unused or unwanted apps.
You can simply type 'uninstall programs' in Cortana or navigate to your settings/control panel to find 'Add/Remove Programs' options. You're free to uninstall any program that isn't under Microsoft Windows Updates or driver packages. If something is unfamiliar, you can always search for the program name in Google to see if it is important or not.
Check for Malware
The number one reason computers slow down unexpectedly is due to malware or viruses. Malware usually hides under the guise of legitimate software, such as an anti-virus or PC maintenance program. You won't know you're infected by a piece of malware or virus unless you have a reputable scanner.
Microsoft's built-in protection is actually pretty great on Windows 10. If you want something more, you can go for Norton Antivirus and Malwarebite's Malware defense. Check this guide for a list of all the best antivirus protection software.
Check for Dustbunnies
Laptops are notorious dust-magnets. These low-profile machines are constantly pushing air through tiny vents and oversensitive electronics. No matter how clean you keep your place, over the years, you will eventually accumulate enough dust to affect performance.
As dust clings to your internals, it raises the temperatures, which will make your laptop work harder. To combat this, you can do dusting every few months with a can of compressed air. This is most effective when the dust is fairly light.
It's possible that you may need to have your laptop opened for a thorough cleaning that a simple spray in the vents can't do.
Old Laptop, Smart Internet
Just because your laptop is old, doesn't mean you have to toss it because it doesn't play 1080p video smoothly. They still make great internet browsing stations on the side. Just make sure you're using a lightweight browser like Brave, Microsoft Edge, or Firefox.
You noticed I left out Chrome? Well, Chrome is arguably the best browser for many reasons, but being light on resources is not one. It is designed for power users and can eat a lot of RAM.
Last, but not least, it is very possible that your "old laptop" may not even be the cause of the slowdown. It could just be your internet! You might be paying for high speeds, but if your connection is intermittent enough, pages might not be loading completely and feel sluggish as images pop in or links don't load quickly.