Working from home has become the standard, which means business laptops are getting a lot more use.
Worse, your laptop nearing the end of its life cycle and starting to chug as you try to get work done.
Rather than waiting for your IT person to locate, pack and ship a new laptop.
You can take matters into your own hands and overhaul your work laptop to get it back in working order.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED WITH YOUR LAPTOP
Before you do anything with your work laptop, double-check your company’s IT and device policies.
You may be restricted in what you can accomplish based on their worries and the contracts they’ve signed with clients.
Inquire about their “bring your own device” policy and determine whether another laptop you have will suffice.
If they give you the go-ahead collect a complete list of the machine’s specifications including any information on the make and model.
Which you may find on the bottom of your laptop. When determining whether a part or external device will function with your machine,
will save you time. Keep track of how many ports you have and whether they’re powered. The more ports you have the more you can add.
Look for removable panels and access points on the bottom of your laptop while you’re at it.
More parts are bonded into place on ultralight, modern computers, or they are manufactured entirely of one piece of metal.
Because cracking open the casing in some circumstances is impossible, you’ll have to rely on external accessories.
It’s also a good idea to make a backup of your files at this time. Put anything you need to access quickly on the cloud
and everything else on a USB stick or external hard disc.
Clean up any files you don’t need and perform some basic maintenance. As defragmenting your hard drive once that’s done will increase performance by centralizing all of your data and giving you extra space.
LAPTOP PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT
There are a few fast ways to boost the performance of your laptop, some of which may be done using items you already have on your desk.
Let’s begin with your RAM.
This is your computer’s “short-term memory” where it stores all the information it needs to keep running and there’s only so much of it.
When your computer’s built-in RAM runs empty
it will start using the memory on your hard drive to keep the system running.
This isn’t the best situation: Because hard drives have stringent speed constraints due to moving parts programs will slow down while waiting for data.
USB sticks on the other hand only limited by the speed of your USB port,
so you can turn them into “virtual RAM” in a matter of seconds.
Connect the USB device to Windows and right-click on its icon in File Explorer. Select Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost under the ReadyBoost tab in Properties. After that, click Apply and OK before rebooting your computer.
There is one caveat: due to the increased workload, your USB stick will burn out sooner than usual.
It’s a good idea to set aside a few sticks for this purpose and delete any files you might have on the first.
You don’t want any of these flash drives to fail when you’re storing critical data.
Consider an external solid-state drive or SSD.
Which you can also attach it through USB-C if your hard drive is taking forever to access huge files.
SSDs are substantially faster than regular magnetic disc drives because they have no moving parts. The normal set up automatically and are portable, so you can take them with you.
An external graphics processing unit or GPU can assist you if your profession involves a lot of graphically intensive tasks like CAD design or data visualization.
External GPUs are more common among gamers, although they may use them for any application.
If you have an extra graphics card you can buy an enclosure for it and plug it into a port without opening up your laptop.
ADDING MORE PORTS OR VIRTUALLY UPGRADING
By connecting it to your laptop’s ports, you may upgrade almost anything on it, from the keyboard to the camera. However, according to Josh Smith a threat analyst at cybersecurity firm Nuspire. You should cautious about where you buy your gadgets because they could modify to infiltrate the systems of unwitting victims.
“Backdoors and keyloggers might put in gadgets, making them ripe for fraud, theft, or something more criminal,” he continues.
Do your research and make sure you’re buying from trusted sources before plugging anything into your computer, advises Chris Hickman, Chief Security Officer at internet security firm Keyfactor.
“Look for laptop vendors’ certified, recommended, or sponsored devices,” he advises.
If you’ve had enough of your laptop and only need the processor and hard drive.
It’s time to invest in a docking station also known as a dock.
Docks are add-ons that attach to your laptop to turn it into a desktop workstation.
Complete with more USB ports. A monitor connection and in some cases even more processing power for graphics and other tasks.
When you have a dedicated workstation to put it up in, or when you require more or different ports than your laptop provides, these come in handy.
However, a dock is not a panacea. To begin with, just because you have one doesn’t imply you can connect it to anything. For example, if your laptop’s graphics card can’t support the high resolution you desire on your display, a dock is unlikely to help. Second, because you’ll tether to your home desk, you’ll lose mobility.
AUDIO AND VIDEO UPGRADE
Videoconferencing is essential for distant work, but not every laptop equip to handle it. Older models may include microphones and cameras that bad positioned (such as the one just above the keyboard, ideal for gazing up your nose) or resolution constraints that make you look blocky.
If your camera isn’t up to par, take a look at the external cameras you currently own. Webcam apps and modes are available on action cameras like the GoPro, and they may mount anywhere using a suction cup mount. All you have to do now is remember to keep them charged.
Any camera is reliant on the amount of light falling on its subject. The smaller the camera’s resolution, the more light you’ll require. If your laptop is making you look bad, try using a USB-powered light source to see if you can improve your appearance.
To place a light directly on your face there are LED panels or ring lights that clip to the top of your laptop or cling to the rear with a suction cup.
Choose one with adjustable brightness and color settings so you can fill in shadows and fine-tune your appearance on video chat.
A Bluetooth receiver can eliminate a few cords from your office while improving music quality.
There are several that plug into a headphone jack and pair with your existing headphones to provide an instant audio enhancement.
You’ll need to keep them charged, much like an external camera,
so have a USB hub on your desk to keep your batteries charged.
UPGRADES TO THE GUT
If your IT department has given you the green light, or you work for a company that has a bring-your-own-device policy,
you can go even farther by replacing some internal components.
Two of the simplest hardware changes are replacing or upgrading your battery and RAM. Both, though, necessitate getting up and personal with your computer’s guts.
However, buy an anti-static wrist strap before you open up your machine, as even small amounts of electricity might destroy components.
Depending on the age and design of your machine, you may require Torx bits, which are speciality screwdrivers.
These are available in a star shape and can be found in auto supply stores, bike shops, and online.
Once you’ve obtained the necessary tools, double-check that the parts you’ll be replacing are compatible with the RAM and processor you currently have. On the manufacturer’s website, look up their required specifications.
The battery is the most straightforward component to change or replace. Check your laptop’s handbook to see if the battery can be replaced.
If it’s possible, instructions will be provided on how to do so, which usually involves popping it out and replacing it with a new one.
The battery should slip into the electrical connections and snap firmly into place. Don’t force it in if it’s too loose or too tight.
If at all feasible, get your battery from the original manufacturer, as this will help you preserve your warranty and avoid annoyance.
If you have to buy a third-party battery, be sure it’s compatible with your model by checking with the manufacturer.
You might also want to look for user reviews from others who have the same laptop as you.
Memory, primarily the RAM on the motherboard, is a low-cost way to get greater performance out of your computer—the more RAM it has, the faster it will run.
However, the motherboard will determine how much RAM your laptop can take,
so check the user handbook for the maximum amount before you try anything.
RAM is attached to the motherboard, so depending on where it is located in your system, accessing it may be simple or difficult.
Simply remove the present RAM and replace it with your new module if you have access to it.
When you finished, turn on your computer and double-check that everything is working properly before putting everything back together.
If you encounter any issues, go back to step one and replace the old RAM module.