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Ask Bongani: How to improve your laptop’s speed

Many may say RAM/memory is the first to upgrade when dealing with a slow computer, but BONGANI SITHOLE reveals the real secret to unlocking performance.

Q: How do I improve my laptop’s speed?

A: To check the type of disk your laptop is using, go to your laptop’s task manager and click on the Performance tab. This will detail your computer’s performance. If your disk usage is at 100%, the disk should be replaced with an SSD. What usually makes a laptop slower is that the hard drive has slow access time, which creates a backlog of tasks for your computer. Access time is also affected by hard drive fragmentation (remember defragging your computer?). Over time, the hard drive needle needs to go back and forth fetching files, lowering access time even further.

Upgrading to an SSD increases the speed of your laptop because it uses electrical circuits and has no physical moving parts. This reduces startup lag and reduces lag when opening apps or performing large tasks. SSDs are also not affected by fragmentation. You can buy an SSD from any computer repair store and replace the hard drive, and use this hard drive as external storage.

Before starting any transfers, you’ll need to backup all data from your hard drive to another storage location (either flash drives, or the cloud). Then you’ll need to reinstall Windows to the blank SSD.

If you do choose to replace it yourself, refer to your laptop’s manual or search for a disassembly guide on YouTube. Make sure to work on tiles or wood, because carpeted surfaces can create static electricity that can cause permanent damage to your hard drive. Your old hard drive can still be used as external storage, but put it into a USB hard drive enclosure.

If you’re not comfortable opening your laptop, take it along for a technician to do the replacement.

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