Upgrading Your Laptop to Run Like New

Few things in life are more frustrating than a computer that does not perform as well as it should. But it can be infuriating if you are forced into shelling out over a thousand dollars for a new laptop when there was only one small problem with your old one. While most new laptops are intentionally designed to be difficult to upgrade, there are still some upgrades that can help your old computer perform just as well as the shiny new one on TV.

Upgrading Modern Laptops

More and more modern laptops are sealed units that do not allow the user access to any of the internal components, and this is especially the case with smaller units such as ultrabooks. However, although it is may be more difficult, a person who is somewhat experienced in computer hardware can still gain access to the internal workings of the machine.

Before we get into the specific upgrades that can improve the performance of your computer, it is important to note a couple of important facts. First, the following tips are only for upgrading the performance of a fully functional laptop. If there is an actual defect or malfunction– especially with a relatively new computer–  you should not proceed any further, as making any changes or even accessing the internal parts can void your warranty.

Secondly, many performance issues can be solved without making hardware changes. Before you begin tinkering with the insides of your laptop, it is recommended that you clean up your software and programs. Clearing out old software can significantly improve the performance of any computer, and this should always be your first step before making any physical changes.


Even though most modern laptops are sealed, memory is still the one aspect that users can most easily upgrade. Most models feature small doors on the bottom of the laptop that will provide access to the memory modules. Especially for laptops with under 4GB of memory, increasing the memory can be an effective, low-cost option that will show immediate benefits.

Hard Drive

Similar to how the memory modules can be accessed, some laptops have hard drive bays that can be accessed by a removable tray. This makes upgrading your hard drive one of the simplest upgrades available, if your laptop is one of these models.

Increasing the size and type of hard drive can also have a significant impact, but this should be done carefully. If you have no experience with computer hardware, you should not try this since there are so many variables (compatibility, interface, brand, size, etc.) at play. But if you know what you’re doing, adding a larger hard drive or upgrading an old hard drive to a solid state drive can prove to be very beneficial.

External Upgrades

If you cannot access your laptop’s hard drive but still want more space, you can purchase and connect an external model through a USB port. These do have some power and efficiency drawbacks, but they are always preferable to overloading your computer. You can also connect external CD, DVD or Blu-Ray drives in a similar manner if you want an additional media bay.

Upgrade or Replace

While upgrades can be helpful in many cases, you may be better off replacing the entire laptop. You can weigh the costs, time and other aspects of upgrading your computer versus buying a new one, as this decision will be based on your own individual needs. If you do think it may be time for a new computer, you can check online laptop reviews about which brand is best in order to make an informed purchasing decision.