How to make my 7 year old laptop work like a new one

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Update to the latest software

Whether you're on an Apple Mac computer or a Microsoft Windows machine, you should always keep your computer running the latest possible software. This will help your computer stay more secure and, often, bug fixes and performance enhancements in updates can improve your experience in either macOS or Windows 10. (If you use a Chromebook, Google automatically keeps your software up to date.)

On a Mac, you can check for updates by opening the Apple menu on the top left, choosing preferences and then picking software update. On Windows, you can simply search for Windows Update in the bottom-left search bar. Open it and check for updates.

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Add more RAM

Windows 10 has an impressively small footprint, but if you’re running a computer with less than 8GB of RAM, it can negatively affect your performance in other ways. Memory-constrained systems are slower at gaming, slower at booting up, and can start to choke if you begin to multitask heavily (including having too many browser tabs open at once). Adding more RAM can help. You’ll want to completely replace the memory in your system if you’re upgrading to avoid potential conflicts, but an 8GB memory module (or an 8GB kit of two 4GB modules) can often been found for under $50 at basic speeds.

Upgrading your desktop memory is easy: Just pop out the sticks located in the slots next to the CPU in your motherboard, then swap in the new ones. Be sure you’ve chosen the right RAM type first, though. Notebooks can be trickier. Check out our guide to upgrading your laptop’s RAM if you need help.

Step 2: Put It Together Again

1. Now that everything is working, turn your former laptop off and take it back apart.IMPORTANT – If you ignored my warning on the first step, be sure to UNPLUG the monitor you plan to use and let it sit for a while. Computer monitors, like tvs, are normally considered high voltage devices.2. Using the motherboard, test out different orientations on the monitor and find the one that you like best. Mark the spots with a pen/pencil/marker where the mounting screws will need to go. Depending on the shape of your monitor, you may not be able to use every mounting spot. My monitor is curved, so I was only able to use four of the holes.3. Carefully drill the holes for the mounting posts. They do not need to be very deep, so go slowly and once you get through the plastic casing, stop drilling.4. Put the mounting posts into the holes you drilled. My holes were not perfectly straight, put since plastic is a little flexible, it did not matter too much.5. Put your motherboard in place and screw it on. On mine, the posts straightened out as I tightened the screws.6. Put on the other parts (CD/DVD drive, hard drive, internet card, probably go ahead and hook up the USB mouse and keyboard too). Some of these will need to be secured with a screw or some tape.7. Plug it in and test it out. Like before, if it doesn’t work try again, something is probably missing or loose.

Embrace cloud gaming

Linux isn’t the only way you can repurpose a computer. Rather than using a pokey PC as a traditional do-it-all machine, consider giving your system a singular role if you have another PC you can use as your primary rig. Let’s look at some ways you can make obsolete computers purposeful once again.

If you’re a gamer, the easiest option for an old laptop is simply to use it to game while you’re away from your main gaming rig. “But Brad!” I hear you wailing. “You can’t game on an old PC!” Ah, but you can with a decent Internet connection. After years of teasing, the promise of cloud gaming’s finally coming true, letting even the most humble computers get in on the action by streaming your gameplay from far-away servers, Netflix-style. Nvidia’s GeForce Now is the best bet for PC gamers, as you BYO games by linking your existing accounts to various platforms. Better yet, there’s a surprisingly full-featured free tier, as well as a killer RTX 3080 tier that unlocks top-shelf hardware, longer session times, and ultra-fast refresh rates on compatible displays and devices at $99 for six months. Check out our guide to whether GeForce Now is worth it if you have any questions.

Microsoft’s killer Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also unlocks game streaming to a vast library of games as part of its $15 per month fee, though you’ll be streaming the Xbox versions of those games on your PC. Here’s how to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for cheap if you want it. Other options (like Google Stadia and Amazon Luna) exist but they’re less attractive, especially to PC gamers.

And there’s always Steam in-home streaming if you want to use an older PC as a secondary gaming computer. Steam in-home streaming runs games on your beefy gaming rig, but beams them over your home’s Wi-Fi network so you can play them on other devices. It’s like cloud gaming, but right inside your home.

Why choose the Xtra-PC USB key?

I could look for tons of reasons to convince you, but let’s keep it simple. It’s a cheap alternative to bring your old laptop back to life. It allows you to save the hassle of having to buy a new one.

In this Xtra-PC review, let’s now see some advantages:

  • The price of Xtra-PC is really competitive and accessible to all.
  • You can connect it to any laptop that has a USB port.
  • With a single tap, it started working.
  • Your laptop is like new. It regains its original speed, like a new youth. It is perfect for boosting your PC.
  • You save yourself the trouble of viruses and malware.
  • It works even without a hard drive.
  • It secured your online privacy from hackers.

You will be using the Linux USB operating system and not Mac or Windows. You can see it as a disadvantage if you want. I see it as an opportunity to be intellectually stimulated by using a medium that I am not used to.

Limitations

What can’t these older computers do? Their concurrency is less than state-of-the-art machines. So run a fast browser and block ads, because that’s what slows down web surfing. If your virtual private network (VPN) can block ads for you and offload that work from your processor, that’s ideal. Disable autoplay of videos, Flash, and animation. Surf with a couple of tabs open rather than 20. Install a browser extension so you can toggle JavaScript.

Direct the processors to what you’re working on; don’t keep a ton of apps open or run lots of stuff in the background. High-end graphics and video editing may be slow. Virtual machine hosting is out.

How about games? The open source software repositories offer literally thousands of games. That’s why I listed video memory as one of the three essential hardware resources. If your box doesn’t have a video card, it likely has only 32 or 64MB of VRAM. Bump that to 256 or 512MB by adding a video card, and you’ll find that processor-intensive games run much better. Here’s how to see how much VRAM your computer has. Be sure to get a card that fits your computer’s video slot (AGP, PCI-Express, or PCI) and has the right cable connector (VGA, DVI, or HDMI).

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Tip 2: Get A Keyboard Skin To Maintain Your Laptop

Many people use a keyboard skin on their laptop’s keyboard, and I understand why it looks unnecessary for some of us. However, in the long run, a keyboard skin helps a great deal in ensuring no foreign objects like ants, flies, tiny food particles, a speck of dust, etc., enter the holes around the keys.

Not only does it give your keyboard an aesthetic look, but it also protects your keys from dust and dirt. We often start typing with dirty fingers, completely discarding the need to take care of the consequences. Therefore, it is vital to get a perfectly fitting keyboard skin to maintain it.

Moreover, if your keyboard skin gets dirty after some use, you can always wash it and reuse it again. On the other hand, you cannot wash your laptop’s keyboard. And yes, initially, you will face some difficulty while typing on the skin, but it gets better with practice.

Improve PC performance right now

Up to now, you have probably assumed that your PC has now reached its technical limit. It remains old and slow. You have already installed all the available updates, but it does not change anything. So you see no other chance than to buy a new laptop sooner or later. It can be costly and you won’t be too excited about it. But don’t worry! If you have Xtra-PC, you don’t have to buy a new expensive laptop just because your PC is old and slow. Also, you can save a lot of time and money.

Tip 4: Get A Padded Bag To Maintain Your Laptop Like New

Even though the work-from-home culture is slowly gaining entry, professionals and students enjoy working from cafes, shared office spaces, and while on vacation. No matter where you want to take your laptop, it is important that you carry it and keep it safe.

While travelling, bags often are the least taken care of objects, and thus, many people get their laptops and tabs damaged in the process. Thus, always get a padded bag for your laptop which you can use to carry in your office, vacation, and outdoors. You can get one here.

Free up junk files

Sometimes your computer might be filled with lots of junk that you don't know about. This can include old temporary cached files, old downloads and more. Here's how to find and get rid of that stuff.

On a Mac:

DaisyDisk can help you free up unused files on your Mac.DaisyDisk

  • Download the app DaisyDisk. It costs $9.99, but it's worth it and I've used it to find and delete hundreds of gigabytes of junk storage over the years. Don't worry, there's also a free trial.
  • Run DaisyDisk and see what's using up your space.
  • Click the areas that it highlights — like old pictures, temporary files and more — and drag them down to the area on the bottom left to gather them for deletion. Avoid doing this with system files: stick to old ones you know you don't need, like old videos and installation files.
  • Click Delete.

On a PC:

  • Type "Storage" into the search bar on the bottom left near the Start menu, and open the option that pops up.
  • Turn on "Storage Sense." This helps Windows automatically free up temporary files you don't use, files that have been in the recycle bin for more than 30 days and even old downloads.
  • Select "Change how we free up space."
  • Check all of the boxes under temporary files and then tap Clean now at the bottom of the page.

3. Reinstall Windows

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your laptop is to start fresh with a clean install of Windows. You can reset your version of Windows or reinstall it entirely. A reset will give you the option to keep your files but will remove any apps that didn’t come installed on your laptop out of the box while reinstalling Windows affords you a few more options beyond a reset. Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to back up your apps and data before continuing forward.

You can reset Windows by heading into the settings and selecting Update & Security. Under Recovery, you’ll see an option to Reset this PC. Select it to get started, and Windows will run you through the process.

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        Credit:                      Windows

Credit: Windows

Reinstalling Windows can go a long way towards speeding up your old laptop.

If you decide you’d rather reinstall Windows, make sure you have the serial number for your version written down somewhere. Often, the key is pasted on the bottom of the laptop itself. Then, download the Windows installation package from Microsoft’s download site to separate external storage. You can use a flash drive with at least 8GB of space available or a USB-connected hard drive. Launch the app once it’s downloaded, then select Create Installation Media for another PC. The app will prompt you forward to creating an install package for your OS refresh.

Once that is ready, open your File Explorer and select the drive with the installation media. Double-click setup.exe and the app will walk you through the different options for reinstalling Windows. Choose whether to keep personal files and apps, keep personal files only, or keep nothing, then select Install to start the process.

5. Trim startup programs and background apps

If swapping out hardware or reinstalling Windows isn’t an option for you, you can always trim down startup programs and background apps to help your laptop run faster. If you’re using Windows 10, navigate to the Task Manager and select Startup to see what’s starting up every time you turn on or log in to your computer. You can select what should remain dormant so that it only fires up when you command it. For best results, try sorting the list by impact so you can see which apps are the biggest offenders.

        Credit:                      Windows

Credit: Windows

Limiting which apps run in the background while you’re using your laptop can speed things up a lot.

Apps that have permission to run in the background will show up on the battery usage screen. Even if they’re not draining the battery on your aging laptop, you might consider disabling them for the sake of simplicity. Open the Start menu, select Settings, then tap the Privacy icon. Alternatively, you can search for Background apps to get to the option.

From here, you can toggle on and off which apps to run in the background. If you need any of these apps or services in the future, you can manually launch them as you need from the Start menu at a later time.

Reader Success Stories

  • Sushma Tripathi

May 28, 2017

    Sushma Tripathi May 28, 2017

    “I was thinking that I have to buy a new laptop for my son but now I can upgrade it. Thanks for help!”

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