How to Speed Up My Laptop Computer

By Jack Busch

Out of the box and over the years, a laptop's speed can slip below its ideal performance. It's somewhat ironic that as processors get faster and faster, the speed at which our laptops execute and run programs seems to be climbing only marginally. This is often due to a few software and hardware factors which users can easily tweak without risking damage to the computer.

Step 1

Upgrade your RAM. Most laptops, such as the Macbook and a select few netbooks, have upgradeable RAM. Laptop RAM is much cheaper to buy separately (rather than paying for an upgrade from the manufacturer) and you can often find good deals on Newegg, Frys or Tiger Direct. The process for upgrading RAM is a bit different for each machine, but for the most part consists simply of sliding out your old units and plugging in your new RAM. If you have a dual core processor, you'll also see a speed boost from installing two RAM units of the same capacity.

Step 2

Remove bloatware. Manufacturers subsidize the cost of their machines by allowing third parties to install trial software on the default setup. Most of these programs amount to simple reminders and suggestions to purchase the full product. This is why they are sometimes called adware. Open up your "Control Panel" in Windows and click "Uninstall Programs" and go through and delete anything that doesn't look important or is a free trial. Macintosh computers tend to have less bloatware.

Step 3

Run Linux. Most users favor Windows or OS X for its familiarity and usability. But in recent years, developers have made Linux distributions increasingly user-friendly and lightweight. In fact, Netbooks began shipping out machines with Linux installed because of the speed advantages. For those new to Linux, consider Ubuntu, which is very similar to Windows.

Step 4

Close unnecessary processes. Many programs run in the background and suck up resources for ultimately non-essential functions. If you need just a little bit more speed for your machine in the short term, you can open "Task Manager" by pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL and closing any processes that appear to be using a lot CPU or memory. Programs like ITunesHelper.exe and GoogleDesktop.exe will run in the background after you install certain software but can be closed without affecting the overall functionality if your system.

Step 5

Reduce your screen resolution. Laptops are set up to display the most amount of colors with the most amount of screen space. But if you reduce your resolution to a smaller size and 16-bit colors, you'll experience a small speed boost.

Step 6

Run an alternative Web browser. Internet Explorer is highly compatible with almost every page on the Web, but it's arguably slower than the alternatives. Try Opera, Firefox and Google Chrome, which are often touted as faster Web browsers than IE.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before buying RAM, ensure that it is compatible with your system. Consult your manual or your manufacturers website for more details.Be careful when closing processes in Task Manager---it may make your system unstable.Opening your machine may void the warranty.