Make a Slow Laptop Faster

We’ve all been there—you’ve had your computer for two or three years and you’re starting to notice that it’s not quite as snappy in doing your bidding as it used to be. Naturally, the first thing that might come to mind in this situation is that it’s time for a new laptop. Before you run out and invest in a new system, there are some things you can do to speed things up and save a bit of money. Read on to learn more.


Uninstall Unused Apps

It should come as no surprise to read that unused apps take up space on your hard drive and often launch during system startup, using valuable RAM. Uninstall and delete these apps and any associated files or folders to get your system running at its best.


Scan for Malware

Malicious software, downloaded unintentionally, often runs in the background without a user’s knowledge. Not only can this software compromise your privacy, it can also slow down your system. To keep your system clear of malicious software, make sure you run malware scans on a regular basis.


Clean Things Up

Dust is an inevitable part of life and it certainly seems to be attracted to electronics. The issue is that when dust builds up inside your laptop, the processor and graphics card have to work really hard, which can slow everything down. To combat this, give your laptop a thorough clean using compressed air on a regular basis. Make sure you blow the air though vents and between keyboard keys.


Switch to a New Browser

Wile Chrome is the gold standard when it comes to browsing speed, it’s a bit of a RAM hog. If your system is a bit sluggish and Chrome is your preferred browser, consider trying a new one like Microsoft Edge or Safari on your Mac.


Upgrade your RAM or Hard Drive

If you’ve tried all of the strategies outlined above without much improvement, it might be time to consider making some system upgrades. Adding RAM is a great way to speed up your system and it can be a very cost effective solution, especially if you’re installing it yourself. Make sure to purchase RAM that’s compatible with your laptop and consult some tutorials to make sure you can handle the upgrade yourself.


Replacing your hard drive with an SSD, or solid-state drive, can be a game-changer. This upgrade will speed up boot-up, shut down, and app launches. That being said, SSDs can be pricey so it’s important to weigh the cost and benefit of this upgrade before doing it.


To Replace or Upgrade

That brings us to the big question: should you upgrade your system or just replace it altogether?  Since laptop components can be more expensive than their desktop counterparts and they can be much more difficult to install, it's important to really ask yourself if investing in upgrades like adding RAM or an SSD will extend the life of the system enough to justify the expense. If you’re only going to get a few more months of use out of a system that's three years or older, it might be best to invest in a brand new system. However, if you think you might get another year or two out of that system and are comfortable with making the upgrades, it might be worth it.


At the end of the day, the decision will depend on your budget. Extending the life of your system by making some upgrades certainly makes sense if you’re on a budget. In fact, we often upgrade employees’ laptops in my business. It helps us reduce IT costs significantly. Similarly, I make upgrades to my teenagers’ laptops to extend their lifespan.

By Mike Agerbo

October 24, 2017