If you are asking yourself how to make that old laptop run faster and give it a breath of life, then you found your solution. The process is almost the same as in computers, the same laws apply to laptops. If you use your laptop as a paper holder now, because it runs so slow, you cannot use it for anything anymore, then try these tips and they could prove useful and once again make your laptop usable.

Keep in mind, there are no miracles, so if you have a laptop that is older than you, chances are you should skip directly to the Laptop Buying Guide, but for laptops that can still handle a few upgrades, there is still a chance. I’ll start with a few, free solutions that can improve your laptop’s performance.

1. Keep it clean


Dust and other particles make their way into your laptop, and because of this, it makes it overheat. This is a definite NO. Take it apart and clean all the components inside. This will help keeping overheating under control, which is the biggest problem laptops face. Also, when doing this, change the thermal compound from the CPU and the chipset. Maintaining it cooler helps your laptop from shutting down because of overheating and it helps the components have a longer life.

2. Keep it cool


If you didn’t understand before, then I will say it again: all computers like cool air flowing through them. A clean computer works better then a hot one. Also, think of buying a cooling pad or just keep it on a hard surface, where it can intake air and push it over the heatsinks.

3. Install a new OS


A fresh install of the OS (especially Windows) can have a huge improvement in how your laptop works. Viruses, malware and other harmful stuff gets in your computer and it causes it to work hard. Of course, a cure for this would be a good antivirus, but fi they get in, it’s really hard to get them out and even after that, your computer will not work as well as it did. Old files and registry entries also pile up and make it harder for your OS to work, so a fresh install can do miracles. Also, if you are running Windows Vista, upgrade to Windows 7 (or even Windows 8), it will give you better performance.

4. Defragment your HDD


Defragmentation keeps your HDD in good shape. The data has a habit of clustering together and it makes it harder for the HDD pin to find it and access it. So try defragmentation on a regular basis.

5. Use utilities for speed up

tune up laptop

There are tons of utilities out there that claim to make your computer run faster. I used some, and the majority are just reg cleaners and task managers. They do work in some capacity, but don’t let yourself fooled by what the developers say they do. Also, when searching for such programs, find one that lets you modify the startup programs. As you might know, lots of programs start automatically with Windows, making the boot time longer. The unnecessary ones can be removed, saving precious time when booting up (Note: you can also do this from the MSConfing in Windows. Start -> Run-> type “msconfig” -> startup).

6. Keep your HDD “clean

By this, I refer to the numbers of programs you have installed on your computer. Try to keep it to a minimum. Install only the programs you usually use, and not tons of other apps that you only use once. They make it easier for fragmentation to creep in and it also creates registry files that keep on piling up.

7. Do not use Animations

Animations make your desktop look nice, but they also slow up your computer. Windows Aero and other aftermarket themes are such an example. If you are using XP, then try using the old style theme and no background picture (solid color). Fewer desktop icons also help. By using these tips, you will see some improvement in the way your computer works.

8. Get more RAM

laptop ram

Now, moving out the “free” zone into the place where you have to invest some money for your laptop to work better. The first step it to upgrade the amount of RAM memory your laptop has. 1-2 gigs of RAM will be definitely make a difference and you will notice the change immediately.

9. Install a new CPU

laptop processor

If you have a suitable socket on your laptop, then a new CPU can make a great difference. Because of the heating problems, overclocking is not a very good solution for laptops. Because of this limitation, the way to go is a new processor, but keep an eye out for how much heat it dissipates, because it can overheat and it won’t run.

9. Install a SSD


Solid State Drives are by far the best idea if you want your laptop to work lightning fast. Although they are expensive, they work great and offer lots of speed. If your budget permits, then this is the way to go. Keep in mind that SSDs connect via SATA cables, so before you go and buy one, check to see if your laptop supports SATA drives.

Related ArticleSilicon Power SSD Velox V20 [Review]

By using these tips, you are sure to make your laptop run as the day it came out of the box. Keep in mind that by trying 1 of them might not give you the performance boost you are looking for, so try implementing more than one solution.

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I often wonder, where is technology heading? What do all of these advances mean for us and for our future? I sometimes miss the days when I didn’t know how to use a floppy disk, or how a computer CPU works, but now, until I find an answer to my questions, I’ll keep tracking these advances and show everything I find to those who share my interests.


5 thoughts on “How to Speed up a Slow Laptop

  1. If you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7, your laptop is already set up to automatically defrag once a week. Many users dont seem to know this. Check your Windows Task Scheduler to confirm this.

  2. If you do not need too much of the ‘creature features’ that Windows has you could get a copy of Linux Puppy. If you need a few extras then go for PCLinuxOS. If you want a full suite of things then get Linux Mint or Ubuntu.

    Puppy is the fastest and takes the least amount of space & RAM. PCLinuxOS is a work horse very similar to XP. I suggest 1gb RAM, no more or you waste your money. If you have more then that is OK too, but no need to buy any extra.

    Mint is similar to the Aero theme in windows.

    Ubuntu is a bit ugly to the eye.

    Please run from CD/DVD first. Check everything – internet connection, sound, display, printer. If all work then you can install if desired.

    You can get google chromium via the package manager (not recommended on puppy though – just stick with seamonkey that is built in).

    99.9999999999999999999 % of the software for the above operating systems is both 100% free and 100% legal.

    In face you can get software that works the same or better than that you buy for windows for free.

    You can also install alongside your XP or Vista operating system and dual boot (choose which one you want to use).


    If your computer has XP then you are in terrific shape!

    The only exception I can find is puppy linux. Windows seems to ignore it.

    If you want to try ubuntu as a dual boot in win7 you need to get (free of course) wubi.exe. I couldn’t get it to work without win7 wanting to reformat and reinstall.

    Best is to try a few different linux distributions to see what you like. distrowatch is a good place to look.

  3. Someone’s laptop froze during a Linux install and consequently ended up with a corrupt hard-drive (btw i am referring only to the corruption of boot sector and FAT location). It was replicated again. It never has with Windows. I don’t recall the name of it but after reading 100+ build titles maybe it is an automated rebuild. I am going to keep Windows on the PC after seeing this. Keep in mind, if Windows goes too slow for you, it may not for others. I think high quantity of free software seems appealing to at extremely discounted rates because of Bourne shell or console and faster response times. Response-time is not same as performance though. Also, Linux and Unix should not be used interchangeably…

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