Making my going on 7yr old laptop 'fast' again

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    So I have this old acer, it has an intel i3, and I can't remember the other specs as that label peeled off ages ago. The memory is just about full now.

    I need it this year for making/editing LaTex files as well as programming. I used it last year (ran Netbeans and it was fine for the most part, slow sometimes), but since I got back it isway slower, struggles to open word documents a lot of the time let alone much else.

    I was thinking of just getting an external hard drive and taking any files off it I need (mostly music and videos, some documents) and the doing a factory restore on my laptop.

    Would this be the best way?
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    In terms of checking the specs you can run:

    dxdiag

    to get a run down of the standard specs, with an i3 I'm guessing 4GB of RAM at most. Maybe 2GB on a seven year old laptop.

    In terms of getting it running fast, a factory reset would help massively. Get things back to stock and get rid of everything bloating the system. However if you find that you are running on low RAM that might not be enough. If you find you've got 2 or even 4GB I'd recommend upgrading to 8GB. In terms of OS it's dfficult to say what woudl be best, you'll get the best performance out of a lightweight Linux distribution but that may not be an option for you.
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    If you want it to be as fast as possible, just take all the files you need onto an external drive, then wipe and reset the computer before reloading it with only what yo need.
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    Yeah, do a clean install of Windows. You may also want to consider opening it up and cleaning out any dust if there's a lot.
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    What the OS? You can normally view the hardware you have running though the system. Did it get slow after a specific update?

    Before doing anything you should check what is making it slow. Go into the task manger and see CPU/ram usage.Download and run Ccleaner as well as looking at the startup programs to see if there is stuff you don't need. Disk defrag should be run and of course a virus scan(just in case).
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    Perhaps install Ubuntu. Do a Disk Defrag, Clean Up and RAM clean.
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    Are you running the latest operating system that it can't quite cope with, where you might be better off running Windows 7 or something?
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    Are you running the latest operating system that it can't quite cope with, where you might be better off running Windows 7 or something?
    Safe bet... XP

    XD
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    Give it a paracetamol.
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    spotify95 You may be qualified to assist this gentleman
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    (Original post by SNK0)
    Safe bet... XP

    XD
    In all honesty I wouldn't want to have any important system on Windows XP, as support from Microsoft has already gone and most program developers are dropping support for XP now.

    if it's got an intel core i3 (I assume it would be a 1st or 2nd gen i3) then it should run Windows 7 without any issues. I wouldn't run anything newer, such as Windows 8.1 or 10.

    Assuming you have Windows 7, go to Start - Control Panel (make sure to use icon view) and then click System. It should show up what your operating system, processor and RAM is.

    If you have less than 4GB RAM then my advice would be to upgrade the RAM to at least 4GB; preferably 6GB or more (if your laptop supports it). If you do a search for RAM for your laptop model (model number should be available under control panel) then you can buy some more RAM easily off the internet.

    Also, I would advise you to do a complete back up of all of your files that you need, then do a factory reset, so that there is nothing to slow down your computer. I don't know how to do that as I've not needed to do it before.

    Hope that helps
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    (Original post by spotify95)
    In all honesty I wouldn't want to have any important system on Windows XP, as support from Microsoft has already gone and most program developers are dropping support for XP now.

    if it's got an intel core i3 (I assume it would be a 1st or 2nd gen i3) then it should run Windows 7 without any issues. I wouldn't run anything newer, such as Windows 8.1 or 10.

    Assuming you have Windows 7, go to Start - Control Panel (make sure to use icon view) and then click System. It should show up what your operating system, processor and RAM is.

    If you have less than 4GB RAM then my advice would be to upgrade the RAM to at least 4GB; preferably 6GB or more (if your laptop supports it). If you do a search for RAM for your laptop model (model number should be available under control panel) then you can buy some more RAM easily off the internet.

    Also, I would advise you to do a complete back up of all of your files that you need, then do a factory reset, so that there is nothing to slow down your computer. I don't know how to do that as I've not needed to do it before.

    Hope that helps
    I was sarcasm, a joke.
    There was an XD at the bottom.
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    Disk defragmentation will help quite a lot.
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    (Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
    So I have this old acer, it has an intel i3, and I can't remember the other specs as that label peeled off ages ago. The memory is just about full now.

    I need it this year for making/editing LaTex files as well as programming. I used it last year (ran Netbeans and it was fine for the most part, slow sometimes), but since I got back it isway slower, struggles to open word documents a lot of the time let alone much else.

    I was thinking of just getting an external hard drive and taking any files off it I need (mostly music and videos, some documents) and the doing a factory restore on my laptop.

    Would this be the best way?
    yes factory reset, and also make sure that when you reinstall windows you uninstall the obligatory norton and other virus checkers, and install avg free 2016, zen okay? good luck. Uninstalling norton will speed up the laptop considerably, and this applies to all new laptops as well!
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    It depends how much money youre willing to spend.

    Precautions:
    1) But before you do anything be sure to create backups using some imaging software, store the backup on some external drive somewhere.
    2) Write down all the serial codes/keys for your OS or other software that may need it
    3) Take measures to prevent ESD when tinkering with the internals of your laptop

    Free:
    Clean install your OS (format, etc), remember to have your serial

    Cheapy ~£15-40:
    Install more RAM. You might get lucky if you have a spare RAM socket, you would only need to find another identical RAM stick and you double your memory. If your RAM sockets are full, youre going to need higher density memory. With RAM you cant just buy any old stick, there are different types of RAM. Crucial Memory has an app that when running, will tell you what your RAM type is, the maximum RAM your motherboard can hold and what cost or options you have regarding your RAM.

    Moderately costly >£40:
    Your laptop will be as fast as your slowest hardware will allow: the hard drive. Hopefully your laptop has SATA connectors for you to be able to do this well, install an SSD drive in your lappy. Even with outdated/ancient SATA controllers on your laptop the SSD will make a big improvement in your laptop's speed, typical hard drive isn't able to saturate them as theyre much too slow.
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    (Original post by MasterJack)
    It depends how much money youre willing to spend.

    Precautions:
    1) But before you do anything be sure to create backups using some imaging software, store the backup on some external drive somewhere.
    2) Write down all the serial codes/keys for your OS or other software that may need it
    3) Take measures to prevent ESD when tinkering with the internals of your laptop

    Free:
    Clean install your OS (format, etc), remember to have your serial

    Cheapy ~£15-40:
    Install more RAM. You might get lucky if you have a spare RAM socket, you would only need to find another identical RAM stick and you double your memory. If your RAM sockets are full, youre going to need higher density memory. With RAM you cant just buy any old stick, there are different types of RAM. Crucial Memory has an app that when running, will tell you what your RAM type is, the maximum RAM your motherboard can hold and what cost or options you have regarding your RAM.

    Moderately costly >£40:
    Your laptop will be as fast as your slowest hardware will allow: the hard drive. Hopefully your laptop has SATA connectors for you to be able to do this well, install an SSD drive in your lappy. Even with outdated/ancient SATA controllers on your laptop the SSD will make a big improvement in your laptop's speed, typical hard drive isn't able to saturate them as theyre much too slow.
    I would definitely advise the OP to reinstall Windows - as chances are, the OS install has slowed down over time (with large amounts of updates etc) and created a bit of a problem. I've had the same issue on our Windows XP machine - used to be fast when we got it, now it's very slow and needs an OS reinstall. I did recommend factory resetting (if Acer include the tools for this) so that they wouldn't have to go through downloading and installing the drivers (the drivers for Windows 7 when dual booting my laptop were a complete and utter nightmare) but an OS reinstall will do just as good.

    In terms of RAM - if you know the model number of the laptop then you'll be able to find some RAM online. If the machine has less than 2GB RAM, then it's entirely possibly that there could be a spare RAM slot available - failing that, upgrade the RAM. Upgrading from 2x1GB sticks to 2x2GB sticks will definitely help.

    In terms of hard drive, switching to an SSD - chances are, if the laptop is 7 years old, the machine would likely be more limited by the i3 CPU (especially if it's a 1st gen i3) than the mechanical hard drive. Decent capacity SSDs (at least 500GB) can be quite expensive; the cheaper SSDs are usually only about 120GB or so, which is no good nowadays unless you have two hard drive slots (one for the OS and one for the documents/music/photos etc). And if storage space on the current hard drive is an issue, upgrading to a larger mechanical drive would help.
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    (Original post by spotify95)
    I would definitely advise the OP to reinstall Windows - as chances are, the OS install has slowed down over time (with large amounts of updates etc) and created a bit of a problem. I've had the same issue on our Windows XP machine - used to be fast when we got it, now it's very slow and needs an OS reinstall. I did recommend factory resetting (if Acer include the tools for this) so that they wouldn't have to go through downloading and installing the drivers (the drivers for Windows 7 when dual booting my laptop were a complete and utter nightmare) but an OS reinstall will do just as good.

    In terms of RAM - if you know the model number of the laptop then you'll be able to find some RAM online. If the machine has less than 2GB RAM, then it's entirely possibly that there could be a spare RAM slot available - failing that, upgrade the RAM. Upgrading from 2x1GB sticks to 2x2GB sticks will definitely help.

    In terms of hard drive, switching to an SSD - chances are, if the laptop is 7 years old, the machine would likely be more limited by the i3 CPU (especially if it's a 1st gen i3) than the mechanical hard drive. Decent capacity SSDs (at least 500GB) can be quite expensive; the cheaper SSDs are usually only about 120GB or so, which is no good nowadays unless you have two hard drive slots (one for the OS and one for the documents/music/photos etc). And if storage space on the current hard drive is an issue, upgrading to a larger mechanical drive would help.

    So it has 3gb preinstalled, 1x1GB and 1x2GB, I think I will buy a 4GB (supports up to 8GB) and if it works ok after installing that and factory restoring it, I will buy another 4GB.

    I don't really want to be spending too much on it really, I just need it for the winter when I know I'll be up late working on my project (as I live so far from campus this year I don't want to be relying on the uni computers at all). Once I hand in my final report in the Spring I'll probably just get rid of it.

    To factory restore, don't I just go to 'rest this PC'? (I'm running windows 10), or is factory restore different? After clicking get started there, it will give two options, to either keep the files and remove the programmes; or remove everything. I was thinking of just taking my music, videos and other important files, putting them on an external HD and leaving the rest. Would this be ok, also will that reinstall windows 10, or will it be windows 7?
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    (Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
    So it has 3gb preinstalled, 1x1GB and 1x2GB, I think I will buy a 4GB (supports up to 8GB) and if it works ok after installing that and factory restoring it, I will buy another 4GB.

    I don't really want to be spending too much on it really, I just need it for the winter when I know I'll be up late working on my project (as I live so far from campus this year I don't want to be relying on the uni computers at all). Once I hand in my final report in the Spring I'll probably just get rid of it.

    To factory restore, don't I just go to 'rest this PC'? (I'm running windows 10), or is factory restore different? After clicking get started there, it will give two options, to either keep the files and remove the programmes; or remove everything. I was thinking of just taking my music, videos and other important files, putting them on an external HD and leaving the rest. Would this be ok, also will that reinstall windows 10, or will it be windows 7?
    If you've got 3gb RAM installed then your best bet would be to try and find a 1x4GB stick for your laptop - that will put the total amount of RAM to 6GB (and you'll have a 1x1GB spare just in case). That would definitely help, and 6GB should be enough for most things. My current laptop is 6GB RAM and is fine.

    If you don't want to spend too much on it, your best bet would be to keep the hard drive as is. If you've got an external hard drive available, for anything that takes a lot of space (such as photos, videos etc) then you could do that.

    "Reset This PC" will reset your laptop to the first version of Windows 10 that was installed (I think - I've not needed to use this feature before). I assume that you took the Windows 7 - Windows 10 free upgrade? "Factory restore" (if there is an option under Acer's startup settings) will put the laptop back to how it was when you first got it (so Windows 7), whereas Reset This PC (in windows 10) may well reset it to Windows 10 (whilst getting rid of anything else on there). Maybe someone can confirm this?
    It's definitely recommended though, that you do one of the above, to basically just have the OS on it - then you can install the programs you require and transfer documents (though an external drive would help with regards to storing large documents/videos etc).

    One last thing: when you do decide you don't want the laptop any more, don't completely throw it out; factory reset it (or reinstall the Windows that came with the laptop) and then sell it online - there will always be someone who wants/needs a used laptop.
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    Clean it out, install DS Linux, Puppy Linux, Trisquel Mini, Lubuntu, etc. Should run very speedily.
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    (Original post by spotify95)
    If you've got 3gb RAM installed then your best bet would be to try and find a 1x4GB stick for your laptop - that will put the total amount of RAM to 6GB (and you'll have a 1x1GB spare just in case). That would definitely help, and 6GB should be enough for most things. My current laptop is 6GB RAM and is fine.

    If you don't want to spend too much on it, your best bet would be to keep the hard drive as is. If you've got an external hard drive available, for anything that takes a lot of space (such as photos, videos etc) then you could do that.

    "Reset This PC" will reset your laptop to the first version of Windows 10 that was installed (I think - I've not needed to use this feature before). I assume that you took the Windows 7 - Windows 10 free upgrade? "Factory restore" (if there is an option under Acer's startup settings) will put the laptop back to how it was when you first got it (so Windows 7), whereas Reset This PC (in windows 10) may well reset it to Windows 10 (whilst getting rid of anything else on there). Maybe someone can confirm this?
    It's definitely recommended though, that you do one of the above, to basically just have the OS on it - then you can install the programs you require and transfer documents (though an external drive would help with regards to storing large documents/videos etc).

    One last thing: when you do decide you don't want the laptop any more, don't completely throw it out; factory reset it (or reinstall the Windows that came with the laptop) and then sell it online - there will always be someone who wants/needs a used laptop.
    Ok great, I'll look more into the factory restore towards the weekend, I'll probably wait until the RAM arrives (Thursday) before trying anything.

    And yeah, I wasn't planning on black binning it. I had a painfully boring case study on electronic waste last year :eek3:
 
 
 
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