A simple way to upgrade an old laptop

Whining Civvy

LE
Book Reviewer
Morning folks,

My wife and I (with the I taking an advisory role, obviously) decided to buy my son an old laptop for his 9th birthday as a kind of My First Computer type thing. He's getting plenty of IT stuff from school and is reasonably adept on my PC, so it seemed a good step forward. She came home with a Dell Vostro 15-3568, which is so painfully slow as to be unusable. I'd like to make it workable and am wondering about the best way to do this. It's been suggested to me that I slap in an SSD (both cheap and Youtubable), is that the best way forward? Would upgrading the RAM help at all?

I'm a novice and it seems a good chance to sit down with him and have a bit of father/son learning time, I'm just not 100% sure of what to pull out and replace.

Thanks
 
Yes to both. SSD will transform the performance, if it just has a spinny disk today. It may already have one, according to:


If it does, the sizes quoted there are pretty small, so it may be that it's just close to full. But the photos in the manual look like it's a standard SATA hard disk.

If it is just a hard disk, then an SSD will help performance a lot.

If it does have an SSD already, then I'd start with just re-installing it as a new computer, and see if you are happy with the performance. If not, then you're probably at a dead end with that machine. More RAM in a new installation won't necessarily transform the speed of the computer, unless it's constantly paging to disk, which is unlikely in a new installation.
 
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If you have the ability to do a re-install of the OS from scratch I would suggest doing that before fiddling with the hardware.

Windows has the unfortunate ability to accumulate loads of crap that slows it down. A previous owner may have loaded it with lots of things that are unnecessary but take up RAM and CPU.

Start from a clean slate with minimal add-ons, apply updates (rebooting as necessary) and then re-evaluate the situation from there. I'm assuming whomever you bought if from hasn't done this already.
 
If you have the ability to do a re-install of the OS from scratch I would suggest doing that before fiddling with the hardware.

Windows has the unfortunate ability to accumulate loads of crap that slows it down. A previous owner may have loaded it with lots of things that are unnecessary but take up RAM and CPU.

Start from a clean slate with minimal add-ons, apply updates (rebooting as necessary) and then re-evaluate the situation from there. I'm assuming whomever you bought if from hasn't done this already.
This.
Even running ccleaner and adjusting the 'what comes on at start' fields is a first step.

plenty of places you can download ccleaner from
 

Whining Civvy

LE
Book Reviewer
The previous owner reinstalled the OS before we bought it so I'll give the SSD a crack and see what happens. Am I correct in thinking I'll need to buy & reinstall the OS afterwards?
 

Ex_crab

Old-Salt
I had an old Thinkjet which took about 4 mins. to boot. I decided to fit an SSD and more memory. I am a cautious type and not having fitted an SSD before, took it slowly, and this is what worked for me.

I determined the size of the fitted hard drive and ordered an SSD same size. I also found out how much memory the laptop would take, how much it had and ordered the extra.

I cleaned and defragged the existing HDD. In Control Panel.

I then made a system image, at the time I didn't have an external drive to store the image so I used CD/DVDs. It took a while and 9 CDs. I also created a repair disk.

Turned off the laptop and swapped out the HDD for the SSD and put in the repair disk, booted the laptop and it found the repair disc and it booted up. Followed the menu and loaded the system image discs. Again, it took a while but at the end I had an identical laptop that now booted in about 40 secs as opposed to the original 4 mins. I then powered down and fitted the extra memory.
It's still running on XP, I tried to go to Windows 10 but it wouldn't take it. I use it for music and photos.
 

exbluejob

LE
Book Reviewer

Whining Civvy

LE
Book Reviewer
Ya beauties. Thanks for the help.
 
Worth noting it is neither advisable or required to defrag an SSD.
Over time, it can eat into the efficiency.
TBH it's such a leap forward for an old PC it's like going from an LP turntable to CD!
 

exbluejob

LE
Book Reviewer
Worth noting it is neither advisable or required to defrag an SSD.
Over time, it can eat into the efficiency.
TBH it's such a leap forward for an old PC it's like going from an LP turntable to CD!
SSD is like going from dial up to broadband :) Mine (desktop and laptop) fire up and are useable in less than 10 seconds.
 
The previous owner reinstalled the OS before we bought it so I'll give the SSD a crack and see what happens. Am I correct in thinking I'll need to buy & reinstall the OS afterwards?
Shouldn't need to buy the OS as the license is on a sticker on the bottom of them laptop.
 

Nemesis44UK

LE
Book Reviewer
SSD is like going from dial up to broadband :) Mine (desktop and laptop) fire up and are useable in less than 10 seconds.
Yar.

My 2012 home built computer used to take around 90-100 seconds to boot on a traditional HDD, now it's 14 seconds on a plain old SATA SSD.
 
I have an old Toshiba Satellite with a low-end dual core AMD processor that was struggling with the pre-installed Win 7. I doubled the amount of SODIMM and that made no noticeable difference at all.

I junked Windows and loaded Linux Mint. A small improvement but it still struggled. The next step might have been a SSD but the laptop is so clearly underpowered and feeble, I've never bothered shelling out. The only time I get it out now is to occasionally update Linux. I'm not sure why I bother, really.

For most otherwise reasonable machines, a SSD upgrade usually brings a quite stunning improvement in performance.
 

Blogg

LE
All of above but that model could come in a huge variety of configurations, ranging from slow CPU and integrated graphics to decent ish CPU and discrete GPU plus if course memory size

Need know what you are starting from in order to know what to expect

If you download something like CPUID will pull details of CPU, GPU (if any) and Memory
 
This ASUS Zenbook I'm on now has an SSD, massively quicker at booting up, (<15 seconds), than the Samsung laptop I had before it. I might get the HD on the Samsung changed for an SSD to use as a reserve machine at some point, it was a good machine - until it decided to take 5 minutes or more to boot up.
 

Ex_crab

Old-Salt
Worth noting it is neither advisable or required to defrag an SSD.
Over time, it can eat into the efficiency.
TBH it's such a leap forward for an old PC it's like going from an LP turntable to CD!
I forgot about the SSD warning but as for turntables, I've just bought a new one.
 
I forgot about the SSD warning but as for turntables, I've just bought a new one.
Worst thing I did was flog my amazing Thorens/SME/AudioTech moving coiled 30 years back.
Direct cut LPs blew your mind away on it.
And the Nakamichi amps etc I got dirt cheap at auction.
Probably cost thousands to replace.
What an effin' stupid thing I did..but it's what we did then.
 
Pretty much the best way to speed up a pc apart from installing an SSD is to perform a clean install of the operating system. Cooling also effects speed. The thermal paste on the back of the CPU normally wears off in time and needs replaced. This is only possible if your CPU is not soldered onto the motherboard. Adding RAM could help depending on what tasks the laptop is used for and whether or not the ram is soldered onto the motherboard. But you need to decide if upgrading is both worthwhile and cost effective versus buying a new laptop.

I bought a cheap Samsung i7 3rd generation off ebay last yeay for £120. It is good enough for most things that I do. Even so after researching the newer generation of CPUs I bought myself a new Samsung Galaxy book when John Lewis reduced them from £700 to £500. The 11th generation i5 is a massive leap from my eight year Old laptops, even taking into account that I upgraded them both with Samsung SSDs.

Another thing I do regularly is use my anti-virus to get rid of trackers which I find slows me down if I let them build up.

I do not recommend CC Cleaner. It used to be a good programme years ago, now it is not.


 

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