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.

5b. Create a start-up drive: Windows 8 For those using Windows 8, it's a little more involved. Go to the Control Panel's File History option. Then click on System Image Backup in the lower left corner. Choose whether you want the backup saved on a hard drive, DVD or a network location.

After picking the drive to back up from, confirm what you're doing and click on Start Backup to get it going. The system will then format the drive or ready the DVD, and start the process. Near the end, you'll get a Create System Image window that lets you make a startup disk to get the machine going with a blank drive in place.

Some vendors offer software tools to help create recovery media. Check your manual or with your vendor.

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