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How to (cheaply) breathe life into your dying laptop

woman laptop work coffee Picture: Nenad Stojkovic/Flickr.com

woman laptop work coffee Picture: Nenad Stojkovic/Flickr.com

Published May 10, 2022

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Johannesburg - Over time, Windows laptop owners may grow frustrations that come with ageing machines. However, today you can give your ‘dinosaur’ some TLC that will extend its life for a few more years - and you can do it yourself, affordably.

With usage, laptops tend to age due to numerous factors, and at some point, every machine will sing its swansong.

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Despite this, an expert in the business of laptop repairs has said the gradual degradation of machines doesn’t always spell the end of it.

Bjorn Boogaard, IT specialist and owner of PC repair company Reliable IT, told IOL that for just R1200, you could breathe new life into your dying laptop with just two components.

The best part about this is that Boogaard suggests that people with basic computer knowledge could do it themselves, sidestepping the fees attached to repair services.

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“The two most important components that affect a laptop’s performance are the RAM (Random Access Memory) and Solid State Hard Drive (SSD). Upgrading these two components will significantly enhance its speed and give older laptops a lot more running time,” he said.

Boogaard added that many affordable laptops that could have been purchased in recent years were likely shipped with 4GB of RAM. Upgrading this to 8GB of RAM by installing a secondary 4GB of RAM for around R500 will improve performance.

“RAM is used to store information used by active applications. Once the 4GB of RAM has reached capacity, it will have to flush and refresh itself to store new information. This process affects the speed, and an upgrade will show improvements,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Boogaard suggests upgrading the SSD to 256GB is sufficient for most users, depending on their storage needs, and will cost around R700.

“If you have a lot of movies, files, photographs or do video editing, a lot of the software used eats a lot of storage from the SDD. While 256GB is enough for every work and general usage, some users may need more,” he said.

Boogaard added that watching tutorials on the internet could help someone with some computer knowledge install more RAM themselves. However, installing the SSD might require savvy computer users as Windows will have to be installed again.

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The twinning costs of a RAM and SSD upgrade at just R1200 is a stone's throw from the price of a new laptop.

If you’ve just purchased a new laptop, here are some tips to extend its life a little longer:

– Don’t keep it charging - Make use of your laptop’s battery regularly by draining it to at least 50% before recharging

– While it's called a ‘laptop’, that’s not where it belongs! - Avoid using your laptop on a bed, couch or your lap. Blocking the vents will slow down your machine and cause issues in the long term.

– Invest in an antivirus - While Microsoft Windows’ preloaded antivirus has improved over the years, it's recommended to purchase antivirus software from Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, Norton or even AVG. If you can’t afford one, a version is available from AVG that will offer basic protection.

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