My laptop is about 3 years old, and is small and light enough to easily carry around. I like it overall and had no desire to get a new one – except for its lagging speed, which was becoming worse over time. It would take close to five minutes to boot up and be fully functional (i.e., the time it takes to be able to actually use Outlook). Not only was my machine getting slower, it was also having multiple Windows “ghost” issues that I couldn’t shake (you know, the strange error messages and random odd things that happen intermittently). I had learned to live with the slow booting, but once I started having other problems, I had to act.
I opted to reinstall Windows. I have written in the past about how as Windows gets older it slows down and doing a rebuild can help speed things up. Since I was already emotionally committed to a rebuild, I decided to also check out the option of replacing my hard drive with an SSD (solid state drive). They are lighter, multiple times faster than a traditional hard drive AND use less power so battery life is better. The drawbacks? Historically they have been more expensive and have less capacity.
So I did a little research. Turns out that I could pick up a new SSD drive for less than I thought. Also it was easily large enough to handle my needs (my laptop drive was 400 gigs and after 3 years I was only using about 60 gigs). I took the plunge on a new SSD drive and I am SO glad I did! My laptop now boots up in about 30 seconds. Opening up applications like Outlook with all of the add-ins used to take about 15 seconds and now it takes about 3 seconds. Generally everything I do now is much faster and it’s like working on a brand new computer. Yes, it did take me a few hours one afternoon to reinstall Windows and set it all up again, but it was well worth the time.
If you are looking for an SSD, there are a lot of options. Many of them are really inexpensive, but the performance might be lacking. For $180, I picked up the Cosair 180 gig SSD since it had the latest technology, great read/write speeds, and very good performance reviews. I’ve seen other good options that are 250 gigs and less than $150, so there are some good deals to be had.
If you have an aging computer that is slowing down, go out and get yourself a new SSD hard drive and invest the time and effort to reinstall Windows. Any new laptops I purchase in the future will be sure to have an SSD hard drive. They are worth the slight cost premium, especially since cloud file storage is more viable than ever, reducing the need for huge hard drives.
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