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How to update your old computer

Computers are everywhere and an integral part of everyday life. So when the time comes to replace them, people often suffer a state of sticker shock when they see the prices for the latest computers. A new Mac can set you back about $1000. Depending on your finances the best option might be to extend the life of your computer. Eventually you will need to replace the old computer but doing these simple steps may save your some cash in the meantime.

Update the memory

As computers age the world around them continues to move forward. One of the biggest problems facing older computers is the amount of memory they contain. The memory is in the form of chips and often times these chips can updated, meaning you can buy more memory and replace the older chips. Memory on these chips help the computer perform its functions better, the more memory the computer has the faster and better it can perform its functions. You’ll need to power down your computer and remove the memory to determine which kind to purchase. If you aren’t sure how to do that then visit YouTube and type in a generic search including your model number, the make, and the word memory. Something should populate. Once the memory is out of the computer visit Newegg to find more memory like it. If you have 4GB then upgrade to 8GB. If you are unsure about this process then call up the reps at Newegg, they’ll be happy to assist.

Remove old programs

Chances are you probably have a few older programs on your computer that you no longer use. The best thing to do is remove them from the hard drive and free up the space. The less data on the hard drive the less the computer has to work to find something it needs.

Defrag the hard drive

After years of adding and removing programs your hard drive is bound to have a bunch of unused data floating around. The best thing to do here is to run a defrag overnight so that you can reorganize the data. Think of defragging like this: Imagine a bunch of file folders thrown around your living room. Next to your couch is a file cabinet and only a few files in there. All of a sudden you need to find your folder with tax information from 2010. It would take quite a while to sift through all the folder in your living room and the file cabinet just to find this one folder. When you defrag you’ll clean up this mess and put all the folder in the file cabinet in alphabetical and chronological order. Now it becomes much easier to find that tax info.

Update your virus software

It is absolutely imperative you keep this software up to date. There are new viruses all the time and the only way your computer can find these is to have an up to date dictionary of viruses. That’s where your virus software comes into play. McAfee and Norton are two of the most well known. Right click on the icon and click on update definitions.

Update the operating system

First make sure you meet the requirements to run the new OS and whether it makes sense to do so. For example Windows 8 is more geared towards touch screen computers. You might want to hold off on that but if you have Windows XP then if you meet the requirements you should migrate over to Windows 7. Same goes for Apple except that the latest version of OSX is not geared towards touchscreen so you can go ahead and move towards that if you like.

These five simple steps can help you extend the life of your computer for maybe a year or two. However there comes a time when you must start fresh and jump into a new computer. About every five years is a good rule of thumb for purchasing a new computer. Until then try and stretch your dollar by following the above steps.

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