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.

5a. Create a start-up drive: Windows 7 Now, it's time to upgrade the storage.

But first you need to create an external start-up drive to use after you've installed the new blank drive. Either a DVD or a USB drive will work. (I prefer a DVD, because I can put it away for future emergencies.)

Go to the Control Panel's Backup and Restore page. If you're using a blank DVD, click on "Create a system repair disc" and "Create Disc." It takes about 10 minutes to compile and burn the disc. If you're using an external USB drive, go to "Create system image" instead and, the the set-up window, select the drive to save it to.

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