12 Hacks To Make Your Old Laptop Feel Brand-New

by Joseph D. Lyons

We've all been there. You're streaming your favorite series, when suddenly your laptop beeps at you: "No more disk space on your hard drive!" What?! No! Or maybe you recently opened more than one browser window, just to have your operating system come to a screeching halt. It also could be that your laptop works just fine for what you need (Netflix and Facebook), but looks like a dinosaur. Perhaps it turns off when not plugged in. All you want is for your old laptop to feel new. It's a tough, unfair world, I know. An unfair world with a technology store on every prominent corner reminding you of your has-been technological status. Those thinner, quicker computers beckon, but your wallet says N-O.

I hear you. Regardless of whether you have a sleek MacBook or a 20-pound Lenovo from freshman year of college, sometimes it won't seem good, new, fast, or pretty enough. But all hope is not lost. Your current tech just needs some love. Sure, give it a good squeeze if you've been dissing it as of late. But what I really mean is take time to care for your device. It probably just needs a little TLC, tech-style. Given the resources that go into making a new computer, you're not just solving your frustrations and saving money, but also helping out the environment.

1.) Buy A New Protective Case

Hammered Hardshell Case, $35, Incase

Buy a new case. No scratches, no dings. It feels clean and new in your hands, and protects your computer from any further damage. Many brands offer snap-on hardshell cases. Check this one out from Incase. There are clear cases, colorful cases, and business-appropriate black and gray.

2.) Change Your Wallpaper

Okay, maybe you don't need to go to Portugal to take a new wallpaper shot (though if that's an option, I'd highly recommend it). Whether you take the picture yourself or you find something inspiring online, it can give you some new energy and inspiration.

3.) Clean Your Desktop

It's surprisingly rewarding — plus, you'll be able to enjoy that new desktop wallpaper you've chosen. Move things to the Trash or Recycle Bin. Embrace folders. It will not only de-clutter your laptop, but your mind as well. There'll be fewer distractions every time you turn your computer on.

4.) Clean The Screen

Don't let smudges and glares bring you down. A new computer seems shiny and sparkly because it is. Yours can be, too. Be careful not to spray any liquid directly on the screen. Most screens should be cleaned with a damp microfiber cloth — water only! Be careful, because liquid damage won't be covered by most warranties.

5.) Buy A New Battery

If you're constantly tethered to an outlet, consider a new battery. Lithium-ion batteries wear out over time. On average, they last about 1,000 cycles. A cycle is a full time that the battery goes from 100 percent to zero percent. Two partial charges add up to one cycle. You can check this out yourself to see if it's time. On a Mac. Or with Windows.

6.) Clean Up Photo Duplicates

Have you taken a lot of pictures? It's easier to fill gigs of hard drive space with pics than just about anything else. Don't delete any memories, but remember that some might be duplicates, depending on how you've uploaded them or any editing you've done. Check out this app for Mac and this one for Windows. They find all the duplicates for you, and then you can decide what to delete.

7.) Delete Old iPhone Backups

If you backup your iPhone, iPod, or iPad locally — or used to — you probably have some old backups saved on your hard drive. These can take up a lot of space. Check the dates and make sure they're not needed. Then, you're just clicks away from lots of storage space.

8.) Buy An External Hard Drive

Seagate Backup Plus 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive, $137, New Egg

Buy one that will let you keep those college papers, high school video projects, and each and every selfie. External hard drives come in all shapes and sizes. This 5TB drive from Seagate sells on Newegg for just $137. You'd never run out of space.

9.) Add Some RAM

If you can't have multiple web browsers or applications open, you probably need more RAM. A new MacBook comes with 8GB standard, just to give you an idea. Installing it can be really easy, depending on what model computer you have. Also be careful not to void your warranty.

10.) Download A New Operating System

Both Windows and Mac OSX have new versions: Windows 10 and OSX El Capitan, respectively. Have you stayed up to date with yours? Initial rollouts can be buggy, but the new features and graphics are usually worth transitioning. But do it! Best of all, this is totally free. See how for Windows and for Mac OSX.

11.) Vacuum, Seriously

If your computer seems really hot lately, or the fan is running a lot, then make sure to vacuum all the vents. Lots of dust can build up in there. Try to do this on a regular basis.

12.) Accessorize

Dog 3D 13" Laptop Sleeve, $26, Cafe Press

Go ahead and find a new laptop sleeve, Bluetooth mouse, or speakers to make your laptop fun again. More adorable sleeves like this one can be found at CafePress. Your computer might not be new, but you'll still get a ton of compliments.

Before going for broke with new technology, take care of what you've got! Your wallet and the environment will thank you.

Images: Incase, Mac App Store, NewEgg, CafePress.