How can I make an old laptop work faster?
Question by Edmundo /

My Compaq laptop is from 2003-2004. It has a 64-bit AMD CPU, but yet running on a 32-bit operating system with a 512MB RAM. It is very slow. It is Windows XP.

Is there a way to make it work faster if I change it to 64-bit and then putting more than another 512MB for a total of only 1GB RAM?

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Answers (10)
  • Friendsforever1198

    get windows 7. it really helps you a lot

  • Friendsforever1198

    get windows 7. it really helps you a lot

  • Adf

    If you’re not tied to Windows-only programs, installing Linux can be a huge speed booster.  A low footprint distro like Lubuntu will literally run circles around XP.

    It seems to me that older versions of Windows get slower and slower on old hardware as the OS gets updated.  By the time you’ve hit a service pack or two, old machines can’t keep up.

  • Adf

    Solid state drive would be nice but likely won’t work since most are SATA now.  A laptop that old would be IDE.

  • Guest

    I have an old Toshiba running Vista with 2gig ram. It was running SUPER SLOWLY,so much so it was practically unusable.I ran CCleaner on it,and it is now noticably faster,so I highly recommend this program

  • Pharman99

     How about an solid state hard drive?  I’ve seen prices as low as $1 (U.S.) per GB.

  • Wayne

    Download Defraggler from Piriform.Its better than Disk Defragmenter.

  • Anonymous

    eBoostr
    http://www.eboostr.com/?lang=en#axzz1LjsErdiY

    This software called Eboostr uses the windows vista’s “Ready Boost” feature on windows XP machine. Ready boost feature is used on windows operating system in which the external storage devices acts as a disk cache.

    Eboostr helps boost operating system faster, uses superfetch for loading programs faster. The cash size can be max 4GB and can use 4 devices at a time for smart caching.

    Ramdrive is to
    reserve a portion of the memory (RAM) installed in your machine to a virtual
    disk. It will be seen
    under Windows as traditionnal hard disk.
    What
    is the interest of such disc ‘ the answer is simple, access time! Indeed, even the fastest hard
    drives to date are not able to compete with the RAM when it’s time to access,
    there is a 1000 between the two report! Access to the files contained in this drive will therefore
    greatly improved, you can use it to your needs, keep just in mind that its
    contents will be lost during a reboot.

    Turn a USB Flash Drive into Extra Virtual RAM
    http://m.lifehacker.com/5573801/turn-a-usb-flash-drive-into-extra-virtual-ram

    You can try using Disk Boosthttp://www.everstrike.com/ramdisk/

    SoftPerfect RAM Disk
    http://www.softperfect.com/products/ramdisk/

    Dataram RAMDisk
    http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk

    Superspeed RamDisk and RamDisk Plus.
    http://www.superspeed.com/desktop/ramdisk.php

    AR RAM Disk
    http://www.arsoft-online.de/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=43

  • Gustavo Ibarguengoytia

    And if you feel like a pro you can check some walkthroughs for overclocking. But this is some very serious and complicated stuff that only an advance comp user should try.

    I also recommend you get this software: http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html It will analyze your PC and tell you its specs and what is the maximum it can handle (what is the point of upgrading to 1 GB of ram when you can get 2 GB RAM for the same price or even cheaper)

    , it can also tell you the type of hardware which your computer can actually use so you don’t buy the wrong kind.

  • Gustavo Ibarguengoytia

    Adding more RAM to it will definitely give you a performance boost. But if you plan to move from 32-bit environment to 54-bit keep this in mind, minimum system requierements:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457053.aspx#ECAA

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306856

    There are plenty of reasons why your computer is running slower and slower over time:

    Is the disk fragmented? Run Disk Defragmenter utility from Start>Accessories>System Tools> Disk Defragmenter and run an analysis, if you see a whole lot of single lines distributed very unevenly and throughout the bar instead of a low amount of large blue blocks and white blocks than your system needs a defragmentation and proceed by defragmenting your disks.

    How full is your HDD? If you have it almost full your system will run slower and slower. Try getting rid of stuff that you don’t need, music, photos, videos, etc. You can also try running the Disk Cleaner utility (located in the same menu as the Disk Defragmenter) to cleeana lot of HDD space. There are a lot of other utilities you can use that are non-Microsoft and safe, do a quick search here in MUO to get some suggestions and reviews.

    Get CCleaner http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner and run it. It can clean your key registry (registry list of programs installed in windows) which is also a very important part of keeping your computer fast. If the registry has a lot of unused elements or old elements it will make your system run slower. It can also help you get rid of temporary files that can take up a bunch of HDD space. CCleaner will suggest you to backup your registry before fixing all the issues, I highly recommen you do this.

    Configure XP to run for performance instead of style. Right click the Start menu and select Preferences from there tweak your preferences to make it run smoother instead of more stylish. Remember that stuff like shading makes your process render taht sort of stuff which can have a slight impact on your performance.

    What Antivirus software do you use? Try getting something that is secure and fast like Panda Cloud (requieres constant internet connection) or Microsoft Security Essentials instead of McAfee, Norton or NOD32. You will see serious improvements after this change.

    Go to start menu and click on Run, from there do msconfig and hit enter. From there you can tweak Microsoft services to stop running from start up or at all. For example if you don’t have a bluetooth device or have no need for that service in your computer you might want to disable that. You can also go to Startup and deselect stuff you don’t want to run from start like MS Office, iTunes, Quicktime, Adobe Reader, etc. If you don’t know what it is don’t tweak it, this is a more advance solution and could have severe awesome/terrible effects on your computer so proceed with caution.

    There is yet another option. Use a faster, less power hungry system like Ubuntu Betbook Edition, or another linux OS like Puppylinux that are lighting fast and don’t requiere as much resources to run. This will depend on what you use your computer for, if you use it to browse the web, edit text files, media streaming, media organization and synching you will be fine.

    Regardless of what you want to do I strongly suggest the first thing you do is a very thorugh backup of your system that way if you do hardware or software level changes you’ll be covered.