In Pictures: 14 steps to a better, faster Windows laptop

After a couple of years, most laptops fall seriously behind the times. Here are several ways to upgrade your legacy laptop to meet today's standards.

13. Update your BIOS As long as you're updating the hardware, it's a good idea to update the system BIOS. This should be done whenever a new version comes out, but it's easy to ignore. In the case of my HP laptop, the most recent version fixes a few problems.

Start by finding and downloading the newest BIOS for your system (usually, you can find it on the manufacturer's support page) and transferring it to the desktop so it is handy. The new BIOS usually comes with a transfer utility that controls the data flow. Do the transfer with the machine plugged in -- if the transfer is interrupted, your computer may not start.

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