3 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Old Laptop

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There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that’s old, slow and quickly filling up with everything you’ve been doing for the last few years. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a new machine just yet, but it’s definitely time for an upgrade. So what can you do?

Luckily, there are a bunch of easy laptop upgrades that you can do yourself for a relatively low cost. These are 3 of the simplest ways to upgrade your old laptop:

Add an External Monitor

Even if you love your old laptop just the way it is, the reality is that you’re spending a lot of time looking at a single relatively small screen. If you’re relying solely on that screen to do all your work, you’re slowing yourself down. Especially if you tend to work with a lot of open tabs, windows, and applications, an external monitor can be an easy upgrade that vastly improves your productivity and working experience.

With an external monitor, you’re adding a whole second desktop to your workstation. You can easily have multiple windows open for comparison, and navigate between tabs and projects without wasting those valuable seconds clicking around between windows to find what you’re looking for. Plus, there’s the added bonus of a larger screen that’s easier on the eyes — not to mention your posture. You can easily find high quality, USB-powered, and even portable monitors for just about $100. It’ll be well worth the investment.

upgrade your laptop

Add or Upgrade RAM

One of the most common problems with an old machine is that its memory starts to fill up. If you’re a high-volume user of your laptop’s Random Access Memory (RAM), adding memory can be a great way to get the most bang for your upgrade buck.

To find out if you need more RAM, look for your laptop’s task manager in the navigation menu, and then click on the performance tab to see how much RAM is being used. If the amount of RAM available is less than 25 percent of the total RAM on your laptop, you could use an upgrade.

If you don’t know this already, you can use a system scanner to determine what kind of RAM module your machine needs. Once you’ve determined what kind of RAM you have, you can buy additional memory for your laptop at prices under $100. Replacing the RAM is pretty easy, and will only take about 10 minutes.

Once you’ve replaced the RAM, reboot your machine and you will see the difference in the speed of all your applications right away.

Get an External Battery

We’ve all been there before: walking into a coffee shop or other unfamiliar workspace and immediately scanning the perimeter for the nearest outlet. If you’re someone on the go, battery life is crucial to your productivity. Your laptop is supposed to be a portable computer, but the battery life on old machines can keep you tethered to your charger, and your desk. Not only is that inconvenient, but it also hampers your productivity.

Whether you’d like to work from a cross-country flight, or just from the comfort of your couch, an easy fix is to get yourself an external laptop battery. For about $100, you can buy a lightweight and high-powered battery that can go with you anywhere, and extend a laptop’s battery life for hours. Do your research and choose the battery that best suits your needs, and stop wasting time searching for outlets and recharging a dead battery.

Upgrading your old laptop doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or expensive endeavor. Whether your laptop is brand, spanking new or it’s been your trusty sidekick for the better part of a decade, you’ll be able to use these three DIY upgrades to come out with a better, more productive machine.

 

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Kayla Matthews is the editor of Productivity Bytes and a regular contributor to VentureBeat, Motherboard, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.