5 Ways to modernise your old computer

As with many things, computers age. The trouble is when it starts to slow down. In this article, I will explain what components you can easily upgrade to modernise your PC.

Here are 5 ways to modernise your PC…

Please be aware…

This material is an indication on how you might go about upgrading your computer. I am NOT responsible for any damage caused to your device. If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these tasks take your device to a computer repair shop.

If you are comfortable, Remember to back up your data and files!

1. Upgrade your storage device

Hard drive upgrade

Many new PC’s come with Solid State Drives (SSD’s) instead of Hard Disk Drives (HDD’s). Picture a turntable, you have a spinning record and a handle that reads the data, essentially that’s what a hard drive is and when it starts to get full it will write data where ever it can find space. This will slow down performance because the handle will need to travel further to read data. SSD’s don’t have a spinning disk, it’s literally a chip, making it a lot faster. This is why I recommend upgrading your HDD to an SSD. If you have the space, you can even keep your current hard drive as a secondary storage device.

So how do you go about upgrading your storage device?

Before upgrading your storage device back up your data!

Well, to start with you need to purchase the SSD. There are many great SSD’s on the market. Here’s an example of a good bargain SSD that I use in my rig…

In terms of storage space, I don’t recommend anything below 240 GB simply because Windows tends to use up quite a lot of storage space, not forgetting applications and temp files before you know it your SSD will be full.

I have used 120 GB SSD’s as my main storage device and from experience, I will tell you that it’s simply not enough and you need a secondary storage device. It took a week to get full of program and temp files.

On the other hand if you are planning to put in a second storage device like your old hard drives, you can store your file directory and some program files on that drive, just don’t expect the performance of a SSD.

You will need…

  • The new storage device
  • A copy of the installation media for your system

Here is a great guide by Michael Crider from How-To Geek on how to peform the upgrade:

2. Upgrade your RAM

RAM Upgrade

As software evolves over time it becomes more resource hungry, in most cases it means that it requires more RAM to function properly. For example, about 10 years ago, 2 GB of RAM was considered average and 4 GB was amazing. In today’s standards, 2 GB will give you low performance, the computer will only be good for browsing the internet on Edge or Internet Explorer. There are Windows 10 Ultrabooks that come with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage space, I had one myself and from experience I will tell you that it was great to use as a note taking device with OneNote, but browsers like Chrome would struggle – a lot, that’s not speaking for all devices of a similar spec. By today’s standards, 8 GB seems to be the average.

How do you go about upgrading your RAM?

RAM upgrades can be tricky because you need to make sure the RAM is compatible with your system. CPU-Z is a great tool which will give you an indication of what type of RAM you might need.

Here is a great article by Thomas Ryan from PCWorld explaining how to go about upgrading your RAM

3. Upgrade your Operating System

Over time new operating systems come into existence meaning that many software manufacturers/developers will be aiming at the newer systems. A great example of this is Windows XP, there are still many computers out in the wild running on Windows XP, which if they are not connected to the internet shouldn’t be an issue but the trouble is that not many of the mainstream apps work on thy system anymore. Speaking about Windows XP, I am shocked to see that many companies still use Windows XP! Just the other day I went into a takeaway and I was looking at the menu screen which was a standard computer monitor and before my eyes, I saw it reboot and the Windows XP logo appeared – in 2019!

Have you experienced Widows XP or even Vista in the wild recently? Let us know in the comments!

Regardless Windows XP “was” a great system, I learned on it back in the day so to me it will always have a special place in my heart. Enough sobbing though. This article is about upgrading your PC!

I will be specifically writing about Windows machines. Before you even consider upgrading your operating system, make sure you have a back up of your files! I can’t stress this enough! To upgrade your operating system you will need the installation media and a license.

Here is a great article by Ed Bott from ZDNet explaining how to install and upgrade Windows.

4. Upgrade your graphics card

Graphics Card

If you’re a gamer, you might want to upgrade your graphics card (GPU) to a newer model so that you can play the latest games. There might be other reasons too. I remember that back in the day, I had to purchase a basic GPU so that videos, basic games and the Windows 7 Aero theme worked. This was on my ancient Dell Optiplex GX280 which was running on 2 GB RAM, Intel Pentium 4 and originally on Windows XP but That’s another story!

Here is a great guide by Ollie Green from Help Desk Geek on how to install your new graphics card.

5. Update your case

This can be a more difficult one but if the style is important to you why don’t you upgrade your case! Just make sure that you put enough research into your computer model and the cases available on the market. I have come across many computers, specifically slim lined ones that have custom sized motherboards and components.