How can I make an old Windows XP laptop faster?

Jonathan S February 18, 2014
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How do i make an old Windows XP laptop faster?

My laptop is an HP notebook from 1995. I’ve already run Ccleaner and Disk Defragmenter and they haven’t done much.

  1. Dan K
    February 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I was in a similar situation with an old Dell laptop. I replaced the 4800 rpm drive with a 5400 rpm and the difference was amazing. It was like night and day.

    Sadly, on mine, the memory is limited to 1 gig of memory so I'll probably give up on it now that XP support is going away.

  2. djbtwcny
    February 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Don't spend a single dime upgrading 1995 hardware... that's just plain stupid. Don't run Windows XP because it's going to get hacked after April. And don't run any of the above-mentioned Linux distributions, as you won't have the hardware specs required for a pleasant user experience. The only reasonable solution for you, aside from recycling, is LXLE:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2031825/have-an-older-pc-try-the-new-ubuntu-linux-based-lxle.html

  3. mattadlard
    February 25, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Simply improve memory-Ram to as much as Xp can take and your system,

    However, would suggest Linux Mint with Mate use 14 Nadia,

    I use it with an old Asus eee701 with 1 gig of memory and it works great,vastly faster than XP

    Use this to install onto a memory stick http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ and give it a try. Remember to back up all your work anyway, but this would be my way to go with a laptop that old.

    This way allows you with the extra memory to really push things.

  4. dragonmouth
    February 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I agree with Simranjeet. By the time you buy all the upgrades for your 1995 HP to make it faster, it will be cheaper to buy a refurbished laptop. You can get a refurbished "modern" laptop from Newegg for around $200-$300. It will be much faster than your upgraded 1995 HP.

  5. Simranjeet S
    February 21, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Dude seriously 1995 laptop, Buy a new one ..

  6. Rajan S
    February 20, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Whenever you work on your laptop then try to avoid run multiple programs simultaneously. In this situation, RAM receives a lot of burden due to critical memory allocation at one time.

  7. Garv S
    February 19, 2014 at 8:33 am

    the best thing you can do is SSD, Install SSD and reinstall your windows xp then do some defrag and let the tune up utility work.

    • Bruce E
      February 20, 2014 at 1:37 am

      Since the laptop is from 1995, it will be an IDE interface. Putting an SSD on and IDE interface won't help. The peak theoretical transfer rate for an IDE drive is 133Mbps. Current mechanical PATA drives can deliver that.

      Also, you should not defrag an SSD. It does not enhance performance but does shorten the life of the drive.

    • Bruce E
      February 20, 2014 at 1:57 am

      The best solutions for getting better performance from a laptop this old running XP tend to be the following:
      1. Add RAM if the system has less than 2GB. If your system can't support 2GB, install the maximum possible.
      2. Upgrade to a faster hard disk. If your drive only spins at 4200RPM, IO processes will take longer than if you were using a 7200RPM drive. Don't even bother trying a solid-state drive.
      3. Make your swap file a fixed size. Letting Windows constantly expand and shrink this file takes a lot of time and IO operations. The problem is more severe with slower hard disks.
      4. Uninstall any programs that you don't use and unnecessary toolbars and other crap installed with other programs.
      5. Clean up all junk files from the system.
      6. Defrag the hard disk.
      7. Clean up broken and unnecessary registry entries. On memory starved laptops, this really can help. The size of the registry hives themselves don't matter much, but when the system loads, it loads the entire registry into memory where it will be kept until the system is shut down. Doing this can reduce the amount of RAM the registry occupies which can then be used for other purposes and help to reduce the need for paging.
      8. As a last resort, save all of your important data and do a complete rebuild of the laptop.

  8. Dalsan M
    February 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    You could try Advanced System Tweaker or Simple System Tweaker to adjust settings as well as disable unused features and background services. I would not expect much of an increase in performance, but you should see some. http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/advanced_system_tweaker.html and http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/simple_system_tweaker.html

    I would also suggest using CleanMem so that your memory would be cleared up automatically in timed intervals, about every 15 minutes. http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/cleanmem.html

    Other than that, the other suggestions would be the only other thing that can really help performance, though no matter what you do to it, there wouldn't be a great deal of performance boost.

  9. Oron J
    February 18, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Getting Windows XP to run on a computer from 1995 is a hell of a challenge. I'd go with Kamil and suggest you try a lightweight version of Linux (e.g. Puppy Linux, or Mint, if the laptop will run it).
    If you can replace the hard drive, do so, if only on the grounds that hard drives are mechanical and fail eventually. If you can fit more RAM, upgrade it to 512MB or more if possible. Beyond that there's not an awful lot you can do.

    • Bruce E
      February 20, 2014 at 1:32 am

      Mint is not exactly a lightweight when it comes to Linux distros, but using the xfce version seems to perform decently on weak equipment. No matter what distro is selected, you should avoid Gnome or KDE desktops since the graphics in a laptop that old won't perform well with either of them. Go for LXDE, xfce, or Enlightenment instead.

  10. Matt S
    February 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    1) Re-install Windows
    2) Upgrade to as much RAM as the notebook can support
    3) Install a new hard drive

    That's all I can advise. A computer from 1995 is probably going to feel slow no matter what you do.

  11. Kamil K
    February 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Try Linux :)

  12. Hovsep A
    February 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    How To Make Windows Boot Faster Than Ever Before
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-make-windows-boot-faster-than-ever-before/
    or replace the hard drive with ssd

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