How to Speed Up a Gateway Laptop

by M. Wade

The speed of your Gateway laptop, like any other computer, depends on a number of hardware factors, including processor speed, memory type and amount, and hard disk space. Software-related factors that commonly contribute to slow speeds are the existence of malware on your hard drive, such as spyware, adware and viruses. Unlike desktop computers, though, the hardware in laptops can be difficult to upgrade, as many of the components are soldered into the motherboard. In addition to upgrading hardware components, there are steps you can take to increase the speed and security of your Gateway laptop.

Upgrade your memory. Adding memory to your Gateway laptop will increase its speed and enable it to handle more tasks at once without experiencing a lag in performance. Before upgrading your laptop's memory, you must check the Gateway manual or other documents about your specific laptop model to determine the laptop's maximum memory capacity and memory type. If your laptop has room for additional memory, you can purchase compatible memory modules from several dealers and find a computer technician to install them. If installing the memory yourself, download your laptop model's manual from Gateway's website (see Resources) for detailed instructions on how to install memory modules into your laptop.

Increase your hard drive space. Freeing up disk space will increase your laptop's performance by reducing the amount of time your hard drive spends searching for files when you run programs. Uninstall programs you no longer use by clicking the "Start" menu, opening the "Control Panel" and double-clicking "Add or Remove Programs." Select programs you wish to uninstall and follow the on-screen instructions. Regularly emptying the Recycle Bin and deleting temporary Internet files will also help increase the amount of available disk space on your hard drive.

Defragment your hard drive. Running the Disk Defragmenter program on your Gateway laptop will also decrease the amount of time your hard drive spends finding files. To run the Disk Defragmenter, click "Start" and select "All Programs." In the Programs menu, click "Accessories" and select "System Tools" from the menu. In System Tools, click "Disk Defragmenter." In the dialog box, select your hard drive and click the "Defragment" button at the bottom of the dialog box. Close the Disk Defragmenter dialog box when the process is complete.

Scan for and remove malware. Malware, such as spyware and adware, can dramatically decrease your computer's speed. Spyware and adware programs are often downloaded and installed without your knowledge and collect private data from your computer. To detect and remove these programs, download a free spyware or adware removal program, such as Spybot or Ad-Aware, and scan your hard drive on a regular basis. To avoid downloading spyware and adware while browsing the Internet, download and install free security tools and add-ons onto your Web browser, such as McAfee's Site Advisor for Firefox.

Use an antivirus program and the Microsoft Security Center tools. Malicious computer programs, such as viruses and trojans, will also slow down your Gateway laptop and can damage your files. To detect and remove these programs, download or purchase an antivirus program and update it daily to protect your computer from the latest viruses. Regularly updating your laptop using Microsoft's Automatic Update tool will also protect your computer against malicious programs. To check that "Automatic Update" is enabled and to access other security tools, click "Start," select "Control Panel" and double-click the "Security Center." From this menu, you can enable the Firewall, Microsoft Automatic Update, and Virus Protection.

Tip

  • Upgrading your laptop's processor will drastically increase the speed of your computer. However, you will not be able to upgrade the processor if it is soldered onto your motherboard. Also, because upgrading the processor can be expensive and requires expertise to install, purchasing a new laptop with a more powerful processor may be a more cost-efficient option. Before making any software or hardware changes to your laptop, back up your files on a DVD, CD or USB flash drive for easy recovery.

Warning

  • Improperly handling and installing hardware components into your laptop can cause permanent damage and may result in having to replace the entire laptop. Read your warranty documentation to determine if installing certain hardware components will void your warranty.

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About the Author

M. Wade is a licensed attorney and writer. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and University of Louisville and has been published in the University of Louisville Law Review, The Brand, and Blackline. She has been a writer for Demand Studios since August 2008.

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