Ways to speed up an old laptop

I build and repair computers for a living and I mostly get repair jobs for old laptops. The most common complain is that their laptops are slow. Here are some tips to help you speed up an old laptop at low or minimal cost.

  1. Check the model of the laptop. – A laptops model number and/or serial number is definitely important to find out the capabilities of your laptop. You can find out what year and specs your laptop has. If you are not aware of your laptop’s capabilities and specs then you may encounter issue where the laptop loads an application or program slow or won’t run at all. 
  2. Once you find out what the specs of your laptop, you will now what programs/applications it can run smoothly and what to avoid. You can opt for alternatives of what you are using. There is no sense running this year’s Triple A game on a Intel Celeron CPU with onboard graphics. As the current year’s game titles need beefier hardware.
  3. Run a BIOS update – Laptops have a support site on their models even some old laptop models still have hardware updates and drivers which can help speed up your system. I use an old Dell Inspiron 15r 5521 which has updated drivers and BIOS which I got from the Dell support site. (If you are unsure how to do this, let someone do it for you or do your research first before trying it)
  4. You can opt for a RAM upgrade – based on popular belief adding more RAM speeds up your laptop. This is both correct and incorrect. It does have more memory to run more tasks in the background and leave unused memory for your active programs, having more memory thus help in multi task making it more snappier and loads a program faster but not speed up your laptop. The only way to fully speed up a laptop is to get better hardware.
  5. Get a SSD to speed up your laptop – most old laptops still have a HDD especially ones that have a CD/DVD Rom drives. So please do yourself a favor and get a SSD for your BOOT drive (where your OS is installed) It doesn’t have to be a large capacity SSD. A 250GB – 500GB SSD should be enough then get a HDD Caddy to replace your CD/DVD Rom drive to a second HDD or SSD bay, this secondary drive bay can be used for additional storage and since CDs and DVDs are becoming rare and digital downloads are the current trend nowadays. You can repurpose that drive for additional storage.
  6. If you are running Windows 10, get rid of unnecessary program and bloatware you are not using or have really no use for. I personally use Sycnex’s Windows10Debloater from Github, after running this program your laptop will boot up faster with less clutter and bloatware. (You only have to run it once)
  7. Check your startup programs, when we install a program on our laptop it installs a small program that runs on startup and stays in the background when you boot into Windows. Check out PC Mag’s article on How to Stop Windows 10 Apps From Launching at Startup 
  8. Get a light anti-virus program like Avast or AVG and turn off real-time tracking and just be mindful of what you download and click on or better yet just let Windows Defender do all the work I personally just used Windows Defender for years and have not encountered viruses and malwares on my systems.
  9. Overall the way you take care of your laptop is how long your device can last and work smoothly but due to the rapid change in technology what was the premium laptop from 10 years ago may not compare to this year’s budget laptop. Due to the way the operating system and software is more developed for today’s computer hardware / software industry standard. 

Featured Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

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