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.

1. Grab your tools The first step is to make sure you have the necessary tools and components. Everything is available online or at a good electronics store. These can vary depending on your needs, but should be good for upgrading most notebooks. First, let's start with the tools you'll need:

-- A small Philips screwdriver (I used a number 0) -- A DVD-RW disc or USB drive (for creating startup media) -- An external hard drive (for backing up data) -- A pencil with an eraser (for pushing RAM into place) -- A small bowl to hold screws and other easily lose-able objects -- A marking pen for labeling

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