7. Use ReadyBoost
ReadyBoost is a feature of Windows that was introduced in Windows Vista. It essentially uses a flash drive as a bit of extra memory.
While it’s not as good as swapping a traditional hard drive for a solid state one or adding more RAM, ReadyBoost will give a little uptick to the performance of your system. It puts aside a part of the flash drive memory for things such as caching, assisting often-used apps to open quicker, and increasing random read access speeds of the hard disk.
To use ReadyBoost, first insert a USB memory drive into an empty slot on the laptop you wish to speed up. A dialogue box will open asking you what you want to do with the flash drive. Choose ‘Speed up my system using Windows ReadyBoost'. Another window will open and here you can select how much of the drive you wish to use on the flash pen. It is generally a good idea to use as much of the drive as possible.
Once that is done, confirm the settings and the window will close. The drive will be automatically detected and used whenever it is plugged it.
One last note, if your machine is fast enough, Windows will prevent you using ReadyBoost.
8. Clean install Windows
While using a tool like CCleaner can help give your notebook a tune-up, it still won’t probably run as smoothly as having pristine, clean install of Windows.
You’ll need to put aside plenty of time and remember to back up your important files, including email and others that might not be in the Documents (or My Documents), Dropbox or other obvious folders.
We’ve covered this in more depth in our feature on how to clean install Window 10.
9. Add more RAM
If your laptop has around 2GB of memory, upgrading is a great way of eking out extra performance. There are some caveats to this, however.
If you are running a 32-bit version of Windows, the maximum amount of RAM you can have in one system is 3GB. With these systems, if you have 2GB and you add another 2GB, Windows will only use 3GB of RAM. This is because of the limits 32-bit operating systems have when addressing memory.
You can install more RAM on 64-bit versions of Windows, but anything more than 8GB could be a case of diminishing returns, unless you have a relatively recent laptop and use memory-hungry applications such as Photoshop.
10. Swap out for an SSD
If your laptop has a mechanical hard drive, then swapping it for a solid state drive (SSD) could pay dividends. As there are no moving parts, an SSD has read and write speeds far quicker than any traditional drive.
Over the past few years, SSD prices have gone down and capacities up. So putting one in your laptop won’t break the bank.
Rather than reinstalling Windows, you can use a cloning tool to copy everything from your old disk to an SSD. Freeware, such as Todo Backup Free 9.0, will do the trick.
Stay tuned for a more detailed look at how to install an SSD coming soon.