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How to Make Your Dell Laptop Run Faster
by Norman Dickinson, 7-24-2011
Speed up your Dell laptop by running maintenance utilities that come with the machine and upgrading your memory modules. Dell systems offer the ability to easily upgrade the RAM to the full capacity of the motherboard or operating system. Microsoft Windows also includes several tools which help to speed up a computer that has been in use for a period of time by cleaning up temporary files and organizing the hard drive.
System Maintenance
Back up any important files on the Dell laptop before upgrading or performing any maintenance on it. Use an external location such as a network folder or USB flash drive to back up your information, or store the files on a blank optical disc.
Click the "Start" icon. Select "Computer" and then right-click the primary hard drive, which is typically the "C" drive. Select the General tab. Click "Properties" and then click "Disk Cleanup." Click to place a check mark in any boxes not already checked and then click "OK." Select "Delete Files" to proceed with the cleanup.
Click the "Start" icon. Select "Computer" and then right-click the primary hard drive. Select the Tools tab. Click "Properties" and then click "Check Now." Click to check the box next to "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors," then click "Start." Select "Schedule Disk Check" to set the maintenance routine to run the next time the computer is reboots. Close any open programs or files, then click "Start" and "Restart" to restart the computer and allow the disk check to complete.
Click the "Start" icon. Select "Computer" and then right-click the primary hard drive. Select the Tools tab. Click "Properties" and then click "Defragment Now." Click the primary drive, typically the "C" drive, then click "Defragment Disk" to launch the utility. Supply the administrator password if prompted to run the utility.
Upgrade the RAM
Locate the service tag number on a sticker on the bottom of the Dell laptop. Also, write down the unit's model and serial number available on the same sticker that contains the service tag number.
Launch a Web browser and navigate to dell.com.
Use the utilities on the site to determine the available memory capacity of the particular laptop based upon the service tag information or on the brand and model number of the computer. Sites vary slightly in the interface they use for this information. Contact technical support at Dell to get specific advice as to the maximum amount or type of memory if necessary.
Power off the computer and close the lid. Remove the memory compartment cover on the bottom of the laptop and remove the existing RAM modules by gently spreading the small metal retention clips apart until the modules spring up. Pull them straight out of the system and replace them with the new modules at the same angle. Push the modules down until the clips snap into place. Close the compartment cover.
Advice and Warnings:
Obtain the maximum amount of RAM that the computer will support and replace all of the existing RAM to ensure compatibility and avoid any conflicts due to different speed memory modules.
RAM modules are static sensitive and should be handled only when wearing a protective anti-static device.
References & Resources:
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Member of the Androscoggin County
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TQF.US Computer Services owner Norm Dickinson
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Norm is a 30-year veteran of the IT world and genuine computer guru, offering local businesses a single point of contact for all of their computer-related needs.  TQF.US is Dell Partner Direct authorized and offers professional sales, support and installation of products from Dell, Microsoft, Intel and other top brands.
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