Do you have an old laptop lying around just collecting dust that for whatever reason, you no longer use? It just seems so antiquated, and slow. All you want to do is get rid of it. The hard drive is too small, and the memory sucks, plus you’re already planning on getting a sweet newer laptop.
I was in the same predicament. I have a 2 and half year old Compaq Presario 2500 that’s seen better days. I was thinking of giving it away, or putting it to sleep in favor of a newer laptop. It was my workhorse for the longest time, and had seen some serious abuse and usage. I was ready to put it to sleep and move on when I decided to refurbish, and upgrade it.
Just like I did, you may not have to get rid of that old laptop just yet. I’m going to show you how I breathed some some new life into my old laptop, and I did it for under $175. Consider this a perfect time to polish off your tech skills. I will show you how I upgraded my laptop, and how you can too.
Unlike a PC, there are only a few components that can be easily upgraded in a laptop. The main 2 are the hard drive, and the memory. If you were skillful enough, you could replace the motherboard, and if you knew how to solder, then you could possibly fiddle with the processor as well, but we’ll work under the assumption that this is beyond your knowledge.
You won’t need any fancy tools to upgrade your laptop. All you’ll really need is a jeweler’s screwdriver set which you can get for under $10 from any hobby store.
Before you begin handling any of the internal components, make sure your laptop is turned off, and that you remove the battery. There’s no sense in getting shocked. Also, make sure to get rid of any residual static electricity by touching the chassis before you dive in.
I went to my favorite online hardware store, http://newegg.com, for my upgrade purchasing. I go to that website because it’s loaded with every type of computer hardware under the sun, and they have the best deals I’ve found. I had to really focus on the task at hand because once there, I’m like a kid in a candy store.
The hard drive is relatively easy to get to and replace on most laptops. However, I still had to check my laptop’s user manual for hard drive removal instructions. Originally, my laptop had come with a 40GB hard drive, but I wanted to double that. I found an 80GB Western Digital Scorpio hard drive at http://newegg.com , and for only 80. 99, this is the one I went with.
Next came the memory. Originally, my laptop came with a paltry 256MB of RAM. I wanted at least 1GB because my laptop had been moving glacially slow. I’m not sure how I dealt with it for all those years. Please note, that not all laptops can support a memory upgrade so you should make sure yours can before you buy anything.
To see if mine could, I went to http://ramfinder.com. You can go there too and see how much RAM your laptop can support. Fortunately, the Compaq Presario 2500 can support 1 GB so I went with two 512MB Corsair memory sticks, which I got from NewEgg for only $45.99 each.
Once I had the hard drive and the memory installed, I re-loaded the operating system, and all the drivers. The whole process from start to finish (after I had the components shipped to me) took about 45 minutes, and now I have a laptop that behaves like new but cost me only $172. 97. Considering a new laptop with equal components would have cost me between $700-$900, I think I did pretty good, and you will too. Just follow this simple guide and you can save yourself hundreds of dollars while extending the life of that old laptop of yours.