Six Ways to Extend The Life of Your Computer

Computers are great tools, but no matter how fast and “tricked out” they may be when they are new, they will eventually become too slow. After years of use, computers become slow both from use and from the increase in system resources required for newer software. Sure, computers aren’t nearly as expensive to replace as they once were, but it is also very possible to resuscitate a slower old computer. All it takes is a little time and possibly some money, but  it can make an ailing computer like new or even better! Most of these recommendations aren’t very difficult to do, and many can be accomplished by end users. These tips work both on all computer Windows, Mac, Linux, etc, however, because of certain hardware designs, certain Macs may not be eligible for all these upgrades.

1. Run A Cleaner Program Regularly:

Computers accumulate temporary files, cookies, application caches and  old  files that are no longer relevant. Most programs have a way to clear the temporary file, especially web browsers, but  users would have to dig into each application individually. Cleaning programs like the ever popular, free program, CCleaner, make it easy to delete any temporary files and other unneeded files across the entire system. CCleaner also has an application uninstaller, although most applications either have an uninstaller or can be uninstalled via the user’s operating system, however CCleaner is more thorough. Many times, applications leave files behind on users’ hard drives, which CCleaner will find and remove completely. Running a program like CCleaner regularly, will make keep one’s computer run faster and prevent some issues.

2. Uninstall Unneeded Programs:

If there are programs that never get launched, or came with the computer that are never going to be used, consider uninstalling them. Use an uninstaller program like CCleaner, mentioned above, to free up system resources. Another good program is PC Decrapifier, which can go through an mass-remove programs it identifies as junk. By keeping only the necessary programs, system resources are freed up and keep the computer running faster and make more hard drive space available for user information.

3. Reformat and Reinstall

If the first two tips don’t provide enough of a speed boost, then one may want to consider reformatting their system completely. First, backup all data to a flash drive or external hard drive, as doing this will complexity erase the user’s hard drive.  Then either insert the system restore disks, if they came with the system, or boot into the recovery partition using the function keys at the boot screen, see user manual). Newer Macs can be booted into a special recovery mode that will downloads Mac OS over the internet and install it without recovery media.  Doing this will reset the computer to be like new and can help to clear out a lot of issues, including viruses. Personally, I like to do this every year or so just get a fresh start and rebuild my system for optimal performance.

4. Upgrade the RAM:

Upgrading the RAM is a very affordable and straightforward way to significantly increase a computer’s performance. Crucial offers a memory finder tool allowing users to search their computer model to find the type of RAM it uses. It also will tell one the maximum amount of RAM that particular model will recognize. Crucial does sell RAM, but I recommend copying and pasting the amount of RAM into Newegg or another site, as Crucial is very expensive. Upgrading RAM can greatly increase a computer’s speed, for example, if a machine has 512 MBs of RAM and can take 2 GB, that can theoretically quadruple a computer’s speed.  Performing a RAM upgrade is typically a very simple process, only requiring taking out a couple screws. It is worth noting however, that many Macs are much more difficult to upgrade due to the new unibody design.

5. Replace Standard Hard Drive with Solid State Drive:

Solid state hard drives offer a significant performance, since solid state drives, or SSDs, use flash memory instead of the spinning platters used by standard hard drives. Flash memory is significantly faster and provides much faster boot times and faster performance overall. SSDs are more expensive than standard, spinning hard drives, but in my opinion, the speed boost is worth it! Combining a SSD upgrade with a full operating system reinstall will yield a very significant speed boost.

6. Replace the Battery for Laptops:

In the case of most computers, the battery won’t last the life of the computer, especially for users who frequently uses their battery. The lithium-Ion battery that are used in laptops have a set number of charge/discharge cycles, meaning once the battery has been charged and discharged that many times, the battery needs to be replaced. Batteries can be found on Amazon or other sites online by simply searching for the laptop brand and model with the word “battery”.  There are often two options when choosing a battery, the standard capacity and  the high capacity that has a longer life, which are often not flush with the case and heavier. Sometimes, it has a little extra “kick stand” just adding height, while other times it is larger.  However, for those who prefer longer battery life and don’t mind some extra size and weight, high capacity batteries are a good option. Once again, this is not possible on Apple laptops and if a battery needs to be replaced, it needs to be taken to an Apple Store or Authorized Apple Repair Center.

While no piece of electronic equipment lasts forever, these tips can help a computer last a while longer before a computer needs to be replaced. This is helpful when new processors or other new technologies are about to come out to hold oneself over with their current computer, until computers with the new technology comes out.


  1. […] my previous article, I explained how to make an ailing computer last longer, however it’s not always feasible to […]

  2. Lisa Roy says:

    I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for.
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  3. Is Replacing a hard drive a a costly project to do? Can the average person do this task or must we take the computer to a professional?

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