6 tricks to refresh your old PC

By Charlotte Parker 22 Jan 2018
old keyboard

So your computer’s a few years old, and it’s not running as well as it used to. Unfortunately, this happens over time but if you’re not ready to give up on your old computer just yet, these tricks can help you get it running better.


Perform regular maintenance


One of the first things to do is a maintenance check, to make sure nothing's causing your PC to slow down. You've probably got a built-in virus scanner, but if not you can get a good one online for free. If it’s just getting old, then this won’t make things start running super-fast, but it will make sure everything is working at its best. When it comes to an older machine, every little helps.


Use lighter programs


Some programs, like iTunes, are very big and use a lot of an older machine’s power to run. Older machines can struggle under the demands of these programs, so it’s worth checking if there’s an alternative. If you’ve got an iPhone, you’ll need iTunes to sync your devices, but when it comes to playing music, using a program like Spotify can really speed things up.


Use older programs


When there isn’t a ‘lightweight’ version of the program you want to use, there might be an older version. These are usually smaller programs than their newer versions, because they have fewer features. For example, if you don’t have the minimum system requirements to run Photoshop CS5, you can find a copy of CS4 and use that instead. Usually, the older version will be cheaper too, which is always nice.


Install a lighter operating system


One of the easiest ways to improve performance is to install a new operating system altogether. If it’s not something you're familiar with, we suggest looking up a tutorial, or doing some research first, because it can completely change the way you work. The upside is a major speed boost. Linux is a popular choice, but you’ll want to find something that suits your needs.


Upgrading your hardware


If you’ve got a bit of money to spend on improving your computer, but don’t want to buy a new one, then upgrading the hardware is a good option. It’s not always possible on certain laptops and desktops, but you should still be able to upgrade the RAM and the hard drive as a minimum. RAM can give you a boost in some areas, but you’ll see the most benefit from upgrading the hard drive to an SSD (solid state drive). Check out our Storage wars guide for more info.

Repurposing old kit


There’s a few things you can do to keep your old computer in use. The smaller it is, the more options you’ve got. An old laptop could be repurposed into a kitchen helper, being used for videos or recipes while you’re cooking.

Alternatively, you could turn it into a networked FreeNAS (Free network attached storage) box. This is basically a storage box that’s attached to your network, and any computer on that network can see the files on the NAS. It’s a great option for bigger households, or just when you don’t want to store a bunch of external drives.


This list isn’t exhaustive, and there’s plenty of other ideas you might have for your old computer. On the other hand, your PC might not be able to do any of these, so it might be time to bite the bullet and say goodbye. If that’s the case, just make sure it’s final resting place is a proper one. Take it to one of our stores, or to a recycling centre, to make sure it's disposed of right. 

In-store, you can get a free health check on your laptop, so you can find out if there's any problems with it. Find out how here.

Hopefully that's given you some ideas for your old PC. Get more help from Team Knowhow experts here if you need it.

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