Living with death - how to breathe new life into your PC

If anyone else is out there using a 3+ year old laptop, you may know that computers may have a mind of their own.

And yes, they become senile.

Having had some recent experience with a few of these problems, I thought that I'd share a few tips to get that extra mile out of your old clunker before that dream-computer you've been waiting for arrives.

1. Look at the amount of RAM in your computer.

Upgrading the memory is a decent way to get a bump on performance, but it is by far a laptop replacement. Old memory comes pretty cheap. Just be sure to look at what memory your computer needs and how much it can support.

2. Check for a new battery on Amazon

A new battery can make you feel like you have all-day batter again! (even if it is just 2 hours). If you've noticed your battery life not being quite as good - get a new one. You can find new batteries starting at 9.99 and up. Just be sure to check the reviews.

3. Operation time

Get to know your computer. Sometimes something goes wrong - finding a good guide on the internet should show you how to open up your computer. With a decent amount of reasoning, you should be able to figure out what went wrong and possibly fix it.

Example: My computer suddenly died while I was using it once, then would not boot back up. I decided to take it apart and test the charging port for possible solder breaks. To make a long story short, the problem was actually in the charging cord, but I sure learned a lot. Replacing a motherboard, charging port, or even keyboard isn't as bad as many people think. Just be sure that your computer is no longer covered under warranty.

4. Think of getting a Solid-State Drive.

Replacing your hard drive can be one of the best ways to save your computer. Many of the problems with a computer and the operating system come from hard drive issues. Many computers will have 2 hard drive bays in the computer with only one used. If you can find about $100, the performance and reliability of your machine will jump up quite a bit. I installed a SSD to last until I purchase another laptop. Best investment ever.

4.5 Look into a HDD to SSD converter.

Yeah, I know it's another $20, but you'll appreciate it. It's a long process to try and move an entire system over. If your existing system is in good health, you can just clone the drive to your SSD and run from there.

5. Look into updating the operating system.

If you have Vista, find some way to upgrade to either 7 or 8. While I know many don't appreciate Windows 8, I have experienced a massive performance increase by upgrading to 8 from 7. Windows 7 didn't like my SSD (I tried about 4 fresh installs and still had major problems), but Windows 8 handles it perfectly. So just think about it.

If you're part of the 3+ club, feel free to add some suggestions here.