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How to Make a Computer Like Brand New

Updated on April 30, 2013

Several years ago, while working as an "Outsourced Network Admin", (meaning people only called me when they broke something), one of the questions I heard over and over again was "My computer is slow, do you think It's time for a new one?".

Most of the time I was able to fix up their PC's by using the tools in my hubs

I'm not trying to self promote promise!, I just wanted to make the point that most of the time, simply cleaning and tweaking your PC can make a HUGE difference. And advice in these two hubs should be followed first, before making the decision to reformat, reinstall or spend money on upgraded components.

Sometimes, however, you may really need to upgrade, or at least reinstall your Windows Operating System. Reinstalling your OS (the right way), is where you might want to start, and can make a huge difference.

In this hub I'll give you some examples of how to make that favorite PC of yours Better then Ever! And those of you who have been reading my hubs, should know by now that when I make suggestions they are almost always free or very cheap. You don't need to spend a lot of money to make your PC like (or maybe better than?) brand new.

Are you happy with your PC's performance?

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1. Reinstall Windows

I'm starting this hub out with one of the more challenging (and time consuming) suggestions, but reinstalling your operating system on a clean, or upgraded Hard Drive can really make a difference...and I would do this first, before spending any money on upgrades.

*IMPORTANT -- A new copy of Windows (XP, Vista, 7), means literally a new copy of Windows. All of your important files, photos, docs, must be backed up to an external source before you try this. Once complete, you'll have to import the files you want back onto your computer. If you are unsure about how to do this, I strongly urge you to pay a local tech (or find a willing friend) to do this for you.

You'll need a Copy of Windows of course, but if you don't have a disk no worries! As long as you have your license (usually on a sticker on the PC itself) you can use this link to download a fresh ISO to install. You can google for older OS's, but here is a link for Windows 7 SP1 (all flavors). Windows 7 Forums.com Ofiicial Windows 7 SP1 ISO

For more information on how to create an "ISO" disk, I recommend using "Active ISO", freeware that's really easy to use. I explain in my Windows 8 Part 1 Hub (also downloadable at the moment if you were thinking of checking it out).


There are a few different ways to reinstall Windows:

  1. Use the built in Recovery Partition. Many PC's come with the "Recovery Partition" built in, and a new copy of Windows is there waiting to be reinstalled. Once complete, your computer, will literally be as it was when you first bought it.
  2. Buy a New Hard Drive. This is generally good practice, for a few reasons. First of all, you can buy a $10 external case to put the old HD in. This ensures NO data is lost, and makes the transfer of files onto the new Windows OS that much easier. Second, You can upgrade to a 7200 RPM Hard Drive, or a Solid State Hybrid, or even a Solid State Drive.
  3. Buy two New HD's and configure to RAID 0. This is for you weekend techies out there. RAID 0 basically means that both HD's are working as a team, so that the physical work of each drive is literally cut into half. With the price of HD's now a days, you can consider this to be a fairly cheap, yet powerful imrovement. There is no fault tolerance of course, but you should be backing up your files anyway.

Handling Partition Sizes with a new Install of Windows:

When reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows, limit the partition size (limit your "C" drive).

For example, If i just bought a new 250 gb HD, I would create a partition of 60-80 GB's for Windows. Then once the reinstall is complete, I would create another partition for the data "E" Drive of approximately 180 gb's.

Keeping your Operating system isolated to a smaller partition size will help performance and keep the Windows Operating System cleaner.

TIP - Want to take it one step farther? (Why not if your going this far? ). Using the remaing free space, create a 6000 MB partition, formatted to Fat32. Set your Page file to this new partition ("P" for example), and turn the default C partition page file off completely! (You'll thank me later for this one, promise).

2. Upgrade your RAM

Upgrading your RAM is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to upgrade your PC. The amount of Ram you have, and its speed, is one of the most important factors in determining PC performance.

I suggest checking out Crucial.com and using the "Crucial System Scanner Tool". This tool will tell you what you have, what you can upgrade to, and how much it will cost. They'll even ship it out that same day. At the end of this hub I'll give a quick "How To" on replacing componenets such as the Hard Drive, RAM, and your Video Card.

3. Upgrade your Video Card

Video cards are getting cheap, and I just found a Gem of a Card for $80.00. It has vga, dvi and hdmi outputs, 2gb DDR3 of built in memory, (FERMI), and ROCKS! (especially for the price). This $80 dollar upgrade allows me to play Blu-Ray from my desktop right to my HDTV. My Windows 7 "overall experience" score jumped to a 5.7. Hey, not bad for a 5 year old PC!

TIP - make sure you replace your video card with the correct type. For example, My computer uses a PCI-E slot, so I needed a PCI-E card. .

4. Buy New Toys

OK, so maybe your just tired of the way your PC looks. Consider buying a new PC case, a new monitor, a new set of speakers, or, buy a HDMI cable and run a line from your new Video card to your HDTV!

~ Credits~

The Dividers -- All dividers used in this hub are used with permission granted on hub, Creating Dividers to Use on Your Hubs, by hubber homesteadbound. (Thanks Cindy).


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    • howlermunkey profile image
      Author

      Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

      @Outbound Dan, yep, I know how that goes. Time and energy. For me it paid off though. 6 year old desktop, new vid card and some ram, thing rocks blue ray no prob. I just did it in steps. One day backed it all up, next weekend new os, then a vid card on the next weekend etc. Ripped my laptop apart (always a good decision), and snapped the plastic that holds the keyboard ribbon down (I can get it back, its just 300 screws away lol) , that kinda motivated me to get my desktop done hahaha. Thanks for the awesome comments and for stopping by.

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 4 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      There are some fantastic tips here, some of which I've been considering. My desk top has been sitting there, collecting dust as I never use it. Granted I have the lap top, but I know I should mess around with ol' guy and get it up to snuff.

      I'm to the point I just need to set aside some time and do it.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting and useful tips. I believe most of the pcs need just tweaking or at the most a fresh install of windows.

      Voted up, useful and sharing.

    • howlermunkey profile image
      Author

      Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

      @point2make -- depending on what you have now, you may just need to clean, or a fresh installed OS. Clean first, with several tools (hub 1). Then tweak (hub 2). Then decide what you really need... can you get twice as much RAM for like 60 bucks? Or maybe a SSD Hybrid Hard Drive for $125. For me, a new Vid card (80 bucks) did the trick. If your PC is very old, it may be time for the upgrade, but at least your old pc will be ready to go (as a file server perhaps?). Thanks for the awesome comments :) and stopping by.

    • howlermunkey profile image
      Author

      Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

      @hawaiianodysseus, thanks for the ups and compliments :), very much appreciated! Most people are amazed when I give them their pc back after a few hours of elbow grease ;)

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 4 years ago

      An excellent hub for anyone contemplating an upgrade or purchasing a new computer. You have given me a lot to consider. Maybe I don't need to replace after all. Thanks for the helpful tips....I will research this further before I make my decision. Great helpful hub.....voted up.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Great advice, howlermunkey! This Hub has wonderful potential to go evergreen/viral because slow computers are universal pains. Thank you for taking time and doing the research (along with your years of experience) to share this with us.

      Voted up and more, sharing, and tweeted!

    • howlermunkey profile image
      Author

      Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Thanks Suzie :), feel free to send me an email with some of the symptoms. Start by reading the Windows Event logs for clues as well. Update all your system drivers (especially the bios). Make sure you clean it thoroughly (see my links above), to make sure you don't have some "funk" , (malware etc) floating around. There is also some great tools I can suggest if need be, hit me up and Ill be glad to help.

    • howlermunkey profile image
      Author

      Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Thanks dwachira, I agree, separating the core Windows files on a smaller partition keeps the system happier. Also, if you haven't done this already, try making a fat 32 partition (6000 mb) for the page file. Take it off "C" -- in "advanced properties -performance" and create the page file in the fat32 partition. Works really really well. One more thing I've learned, if you format a HD, REALLY format it, with a good 3rd party tool (that takes like 24 hours to complete). The HD comes out really fast.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Jeff,

      loved your video, weird scientist hair and all!! LOL

      My laptop (vista) I had crash a few times, last time was at the start of AP and it was a nightmare for my partner to try sort out! He got it back but it has been playing up at times. I am not a techie where pc's are concerned and your hub is great to read in pretty easy to understand lingo!

      I must read the rest of your fix it hubs for pc's or laptops in particular if you have any?

      Loved the dividers, they made nice breaks for your paragraphs. Congrats on another great read! VU, Interesting and Useful!

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi howlermunkey,

      The tip about performing partitioning for OS and Data is very importing, i found Windows work better when it is treated like a "King" and given some bit of privacy. In any case, with partitioning, you can still have your data when Window decides to sleep without prior warning. Voted up.