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Best Laptop Docking Station: It’s Time to Cut the Cord for Good

Best Laptop Docking Station - Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station for Windows

Laptops are a convenient way to work. To boost your productivity even further, you might consider investing in the best laptop docking station that you can find.

Let’s face it: While laptops are a great option to work and communicate on the go, sometimes you need a workstation. Having a dedicated workstation is a boon to productivity because you always know where everything is, with the perfect set up to do whatever you need to do.

But workstations are not exactly mobile. While you can potentially switch between a desktop workstation and your laptop, it is not always convenient to switch between computers.

A docking station could help you solve this problem by essentially turning your laptop into a stationary workstation, whenever you need it.

Picking the Best Laptop Docking Station

laptop on white table

Image from Amazon

If you want to supercharge your laptop productivity, a laptop docking station may be a worthy investment.

So what is it anyway?

You may be wondering what a laptop docking station is. A docking station is a device that you can attach your laptop to that extends its capabilities, allowing you to connect extra devices to it easily.

Port replicators vs. docking station

Port replicators are peripheral devices that add additional ports for your laptop to use. For example, a port replicator may include extra USB ports, Ethernet ports, etc.

Docking stations are similar to port replicators in that they add additional ports for your laptop. However, desk docking stations have more options, including charging capabilities, and may support more features, like multiple monitors.

Port replicators are typically cheaper than more full-featured docking stations.

What’s the advantage?

Laptops are great when you are on the go. They are super portable, easy to work with, and you can connect anywhere.

But let’s face it, even a sizeable 17-inch laptop can seem small when you’re working on it all the time. Laptops are not always the greatest choice for ergonomics, either.

Docking stations can help you set up a more versatile workstation environment when you need it, without sacrificing your laptop’s portability. The best laptop docking station will allow you to set up a more permanent workstation, with a good keyboard and monitor, at a desk.

When you do need to leave, all you need to do is unplug a cable, and you’re free! Plus, when you are back at your workstation, you can plug right back in and work in comfort once again.

So how does it work?

In the past, laptop docking stations tended to be proprietary, made specifically for each laptop model by the manufacturer. Though made for their compatible laptops, there was little variety, if any, in features for these docking stations.

While you can still find proprietary docks like the Surface Dock for Surface laptops, universal docks are now very popular. Universal docks are often compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Some universal docks also support Chrome OS and Linux operating systems.

Consider this

Current universal docks have far more variety than their proprietary predecessors. However, this means that there is more to think about when you are buying a docking station.

When you’re looking for the best laptop docking station for your computer, you need to take your needs into consideration.

First, think about what you use your laptop for. If you mostly surf the web and use productivity applications, you are probably fine with a more basic docking station.

However, if you are a power user who uses their laptop to edit media, a more powerful docking station may be in order.

Similarly, consider how often you plan on using your laptop as a stationary workstation.

If you are a road warrior that only needs to sit down at a desk every so often, a port replicator or a more portable, slim docking station may be best for your needs.

Mind your ports

When you are looking for the best laptop docking station, you may be overwhelmed at the different port choices.

Here’s a small primer to help you better understand what you are looking at.

Thunderbolt 3 vs. USB-C

Many universal docking stations connect to laptops using either USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. Somewhat confusingly, USB C and Thunderbolt 3 both use the same USB-C connector.

However, USB-C has a data transfer rate of 10 Gigabytes per second (Gb/s) while Thunderbolt 3 is much faster at 40 Gb/s.

Video ports

Universal docking stations may have different video ports for you to choose from, including DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, or VGA.

Before choosing the best laptop docking station for you, be sure that you choose one that supports your monitor of choice.

More connections

Most universal docking stations will come with USB ports, as well as audio out (headphones) and audio in (microphone).


Before choosing a universal docking station, you need to ensure that the docking station has enough power to run your laptop as well as any powered peripherals you may have.

Finding the Best Laptop Docking Station: Our Method

To find our choices for the best laptop docking station we took a look at various universal USB-C docking stations.

From there, we looked at the different features each laptop dock had, including ports, wattage, and display support. Finally, we looked at what customer reviews had to say about each product. Prices are variable for laptop docking stations.

The CalDigit TS3 is a 15-port docking station. Among these connections, there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a DisplayPort, five USB ports (including USB-A and USB-C), and optical audio.

It provides up to 85 watts of power. This docking station can support either one 5K monitor or up to two 4K monitors via the DisplayPort and USB-C connections.

While the CalDigit TS3 is ideal for Mac-based laptops like the 2016+ MacBook pro, it is also compatible with Windows laptops running Windows 8 or Windows 10.

This docking station is available on Amazon and “Amazon’s Choice” pick.

Positive reviews like this dock for both Mac and Windows computers. The top positive review calls it the “best investment” they could have made.

However, there are critical reviews that assert that the dock did not work on their computers. One review says that it did not work well with their 2018 MacBook Pro. After numerous attempts with CalDigit’s help, they were able to get their issue resolved but still gave it a low rating due to the non-intuitive fix.

The J5create is a USB 3.0 mini-docking station. This aluminum-bodied dock includes two USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port, a micro-USB type-B port for charging, and HDMI/VGA ports.

It is a universal docking station that is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems.You can find it online at Best Buy and Amazon.

Calling it a “no frills, bargain winner.” While the reviewer admitted that the dock lacked some higher functionality, they noted that it makes for an “excellent temporary workstation” for their Windows-based laptop.

Another review mentioned that they used their dock to extend their laptop onto two 25-inch monitors. This reviewer reported that the solution, “works great” and is more economical than other solutions that they had tried.

Critical reviews varied on their reasons for disliking the product. One reviewer said that the overall product was good but still did not work for their unique computer situation. Another user reported that it did not work with Mac 10.13.5 and did not receive a resolution from J5 when they contacted support.

Plugable universal docking stations

The computer company Plugable makes several highly rated docking stations, available on Amazon.

The Plugable UD-CA1A is a universal docking station, compatible with Windows, Mac, and Chromebook. This docking station includes an HDMI/VGA port that supports many types of video. It connects to the laptop via a USB-C connector.

It is also the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for USB-C laptop docks.

Positive reviews like this dock for its versatility as well as its support. Citing that it was able to work with both Mac and Windows computers.

Critical reviews that were less than pleased with the dock cited it did not work with their operating system.

For example, one customer using Ubuntu 18.04 noted that there was a significant delay when typing and mousing. Another customer found that the dock did not work with newer versions of Chrome OS.

The Plugable UD-ULTCDL is another top-rated docking station. It's a USB-C system and makes use of Thunderbolt 3 technology for faster data transfer rates.

It supports up to three displays with two HDMI outputs and a DVI output. Additionally, this docking station has an Ethernet port and supports three USB 3.0 peripherals, as well as a microphone and speakers.

Overall, the Plugable UD-ULTCDL gets good reviews online. Positive reviews say that the dock “worked like a charm” for their needs. Those that liked the dock gave it glowing reviews, saying that it helped to boost their productivity with the extra display space.

The UD-ULTCDL does have some drawbacks. This dock is made more for web browsing and productivity applications. It is not recommended for hardware intensive applications like gaming or HD video.

While this dock is compatible with older versions of Mac OS, it is not compatible with Mac OS 10.13.4 and above. Additionally, not all versions of Chromebook support this dock.

One customer had a particularly bad experience with this dock, ending with the dock destroying his laptop. However, the customer did appreciate that the company reached out to compensate them for the defective product and the damage it caused.

The WAVLINK WL-UG69PD2 is a docking station that works with USB-C connectors and provides up to 60 watts of charging power. It includes two DisplayPort connections, two HDMI ports, four USB 3.0 ports, two USB-C ports, an Ethernet port, and audio in and out ports.

It supports resolutions up to 5K on a single monitor via DisplayPort and resolutions up to 4K on dual monitors on both HDMI and DisplayPort.

The WAVLINK WL-UG69PD2 is compatible with Windows, Mac OS 10.6 to 10.13.3, and Chrome OS 2015 and onward.

Customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive for the dock, with 71 percent of customers. Positive reviews note that the dock works well and is easy to use. One reviewer stated that they were able to use the dock easily between different laptops.

It began having trouble recognizing monitors. This review also indicated that it was not a good dock for playing games.

So Which One Is Really the Best?

Whether you are a student that wants a more comfortable solution to write long term papers or a video editor that wants to use multiple monitors to edit their next masterpiece on their laptop, the best laptop docking station is out there, ready to help.

A universal docking station can help boost your productivity by letting you customize a workstation that exactly meets your needs.

Laptop docking stations come with different ports and capabilities, so you are sure to find the best laptop docking station for your particular needs!

In your opinion, what is the best laptop docking station on the market today? Tell us all about it below!

Featured Image from Amazon

How To Clean A Laptop Keyboard And Keep It Clean

person typing on laptop

As you go through the day, do you think ever think about how to clean a laptop keyboard? That may seem like an odd question. But humans are a tactile species. We touch to interact with our world. As we go through our daily lives, our hands touch a lot of things that aren't so clean.

Laptop computers are an essential part of our daily lives. We work on them, and we play on them. There’s a good chance that you’re reading this on a laptop right now. But our laptops are not the only things we touch. We touch door handles, countertops, and refrigerators. We sneeze into our hands, wipe our noses, and pick up our food.

While doing all this, we inevitably transfer bacteria and other microorganisms from one surface to another. That can make our laptops one of the single dirtiest items in our possession. The chances are good that you probably don’t think about how to clean a laptop keyboard too often.

But the truth is: you should.

The Dirty Truth

According to scientists, toilet seats have around 50 bacteria per square inch. Your average computer keyboard can harbor up to 400 times that amount. Yes. Your keyboard is nastier than your toilet seat.

As if the number of bacteria wasn’t bad enough, sometimes that bacteria can be pretty deadly. Strains of drug-resistant bacteria including vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can live on your keyboard.

The Staphylococcus bacteria can cause minor irritations like boils but can also cause life-threatening diseases like septicemia or toxic shock syndrome.

How To Clean A Laptop Keyboard: Before You Start

To give your laptop keyboard a thorough cleaning, first, you need to check what type of laptop keyboard you have.

Once you know what kind of keyboard you have, you then need to assemble your cleaning supplies.

What kind of keyboard?

laptop on white table

image source: Pexels

As laptops come in various sizes and profiles, laptop keyboards vary between models. However, there are several main types of keyboards that you can expect to find on your average laptop.


Chiclet, or island style, keyboards are the most common type of keyboard for laptops. This type of keyboard has flat keys, that pop up from the laptop’s surface, separate from each other.

This style is called chiclet style because the keys resemble a type of gum known as a chiclet.

Good news: chiclet keyboards are the easiest type of keyboard to clean!


Older laptops have traditional keyboards. These keyboards use larger keys with sloping sides that are placed closer together.

These types of keyboards can be more challenging to clean because of how close the keys are. There is also space beneath the keys that can trap debris.


While chiclet keyboards dominate contemporary laptop computers, followed by traditional keyboards, there are a few other types out there.

These types are much harder to find. We include them here for reference, but you will probably be fine sticking with the instructions on how to clean a laptop keyboard for either chiclet or traditional.

Mechanical switch keyboards have a switch that audibly clicks beneath the key. They are louder but more durable. Mechanical keyboards are more common on desktops, but some specialized gaming laptops use them.

Touch and haptic keyboards are keyboards that do not require a physical press. Think of these keyboards almost like touch screens, just with keys. Some have haptic feedback which vibrates to let you know you have pressed a key.

Cleaning solution

laptop keyboard

image source: Pexels

Always use a cleaning solution that is safe for use on electronics. You can purchase a ready-made electronics cleaning solution.

You can make a DIY electronics cleaning solution using equal parts distilled water and rubbing alcohol. Alternatively, you can use only rubbing alcohol but do so sparingly.

Cleaning cloth

Use a soft cloth to clean larger areas on your laptop keyboard. Microfiber is ideal for this job as it will not scratch your laptop finish and it will not leave lint.

If you do not have microfiber, you can use a lint-free cotton cloth. Try to avoid paper towels or other alternative cleaning cloths as these may leave behind lint.

Cotton swabs

Cotton swabs are good for cleaning smaller surfaces of your laptop keyboard like in between the keys as well as the keys themselves.

Can of air

To clean your laptop keyboard, you will need to remove any loose dust that may have accumulated.

A can of air is an affordable solution that you can use on just about any laptop or computer.


If you have a traditional or mechanical keyboard, you will have space under your laptop keyboard that is more difficult to clean.

To avoid taking apart your laptop to clean it, consider investing in an electronics vacuum cleaner. These allow you to get into the crevices that may be more difficult for a can of air to clear.

How To Clean A Laptop 
Keyboard: Here’s What You Need To Do


image source: Pexels

Now that we have the tools that we need, here is each step for you to thoroughly clean your laptop keyboard. Be sure to budget at least 15 minutes to do a thorough job of this.

Protect yourself!

Whenever you do any work on your computer, even if it’s just a quick clean, it’s always a good idea to back up your computer. It may seem like overkill, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Once you have your data all backed up, turn off your laptop and unplug it. To be extra safe, make sure your computer is off for at least 10 seconds before continuing onto the next steps.

Dust bunnies must die!

You first need to deal with the general dust before you can get to the business of cleaning your keys.

Attach the long, thin straw that comes with the can of air to get in between the crevices of the keys. For best results, use short bursts of air to move out dust and debris away from your keys effectively.

Suck it up!

If you have a traditional or mechanical keyboard, first use an electronics vacuum with a crevice attachment to help you get into the crevices between and underneath your keys.

You can then blow out any remaining debris with your can of air.

Cleaning up the alphabet

Depending on the style of keyboard you have, cleaning and disinfecting the keys can take the longest amount of time.

Once you have blown off or vacuumed off all of the dust from your keyboard, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: cleaning your keys.

So how do we do that?

To start, moisten the tip of a cotton swab in some electronics cleaning solution or rubbing alcohol.

Remember: you do not want this swab to be dripping wet, just moistened.

Pick a point on your keyboard to start at and then begin cleaning. Starting at the “Escape” key and then working your way left to right is a pattern that will allow you to keep track of what you have cleaned easily.

Don't forget the rest of it...

After you have cleaned your keys, it is time to clean and disinfect the surface of your laptop, i.e., everything else.

If you have a chiclet keyboard, use a cotton swab dampened with either electronics cleaner or rubbing alcohol to get in between the keys.

To clean the larger surfaces, spray a microfiber cloth with your electronics cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Wipe down the surface of your keyboard in a back and forth motion.

Whatever you do, do NOT spray cleaner directly onto the surface of your laptop. That can cause excess moisture to get into your laptop which may ruin it.

Your laptop keyboard should now be clean and ready to use again!

How To Clean A Laptop Keyboard: After You Clean

laptop on the office desk

image source: Pexels

Once you have cleaned your laptop keyboard, it is essential to keep it clean.

Cover it up

An easy way to keep your keyboard clean is to use a keyboard cover. Sometimes called a keyboard skin, these are silicone covers that cover the entirety of your keyboard to keep out dust and other debris.

You won't even have to learn how to clean a laptop keyboard!

So what’s the catch?

Keyboard covers are not available for all laptops. Plus, they are best for chiclet laptop keyboards.

But there is a bright side! If you have a popular laptop with a chiclet type keyboard, like an Apple MacBook, chances are you can find a bunch of different keyboard covers that will suit your needs and personality.

Go scrub. A lot

Washing your hands regularly is the best way to prevent the spread of disease. According to the CDC, we often touch things without realizing it and end up transferring pathogens from one surface to another.

By washing your hands regularly with soap and running water, you get rid of germs or anything else that can transfer onto your computer.

Watch what you’re doing

We’ve all been there.

You’re busy working (or watching something) on your laptop. Suddenly, you realize you are hungry.

It’s easy to grab something to eat and drink while you continue to work on your laptop.

Unfortunately, I have bad news: This is the one habit you want to stop if you're going to learn how to clean a laptop keyboard and keep it clean.

Eating while you’re using your laptop can make crumbs that fall onto your computer.

Crumbs can be easy to brush away on a chiclet keyboard. But on a traditional keyboard, they can get in between the keys and cause a real mess.

Watch out if you’re eating something sticky. There is a good chance that you can gum up your keys too.

Drinking while using your laptop is also pretty risky as well. Spilling water can do some severe damage to your laptop keyboard and the components inside.

Liquids like soda or coffee can make a sticky, hard to clean mess if you spill them on your laptop.

Keeping It Clean

Your laptop is an essential part of your daily life. As part of your daily life, it is necessary to keep it clean.

Now that you have learned how to clean a laptop keyboard, be sure to clean it at regular intervals. By cleaning it regularly, you ensure that your laptop keyboard stays as germ-free as possible.

Do you have any tips or tricks for cleaning your keyboard? Share them with us in the comments!

Why Is My Laptop So Slow? Tips To Speed Up Your Computer

man sitting while using laptop

"Why is my laptop so slow?" This question has got to be one of the most frequently asked questions among computer users.

We've all been there. You wake up one morning enthusiastic about completing your assignments or work-related tasks, only to realize it will take you longer than you thought because your computer is too slow.

Yet what do you do in such a situation?

If you're like me, your first attempt to fixing your slow laptop will be to restart it. However, don't be frustrated if this doesn't work.

In most cases, the only way to fix a slow computer is to deal with the root cause of the problem. And many things can cause your computer to take forever to complete even the simplest tasks. The first step is identifying the problem.,

What's Causing Your Computer To Be Too Slow And How To Fix It

If you're asking, "why is my laptop so slow?" you've probably tried some quick-fix solutions without any luck. Maybe you've already started worrying that you will have to get a new laptop if the one you have doesn't begin working normal soon.

But a "why is my laptop so slow" question is in most cases, not that serious:

Once you've figured out why your computer is slow, it will only take a few minutes to fix it depending on the underlying cause, and you will be using your laptop again within no time.

We've shared eight reasons why your computer is slow and how to fix the problem. So let's jump right in:

1. Your Hard Drive Is Almost Full

hard drive

image source: Pexels

If you've been using your computer for a while now and you are asking why is my laptop so slow, there is a great chance your hard drive is 95 percent full. A full hard drive can slow down your computer by 50 percent.

It slows down your laptop because the hard drive no longer has space to save temporary files that are necessary for effective operation of programs.

To check if your hard drive is full, click on the Apple icon (MAC users) and select "about this Mac." If you're using a Windows laptop, go to the start menu or computer and right click on the primary hard drive (in most cases labeled drive C) and click on properties.

How To Fix: Hard Disk Defragment And Deep Cleaning

Once you're sure your hard drive is almost full, there are several things you can do to get it back to normal.

For starters, you should deep clean your laptop to get rid of unused programs. CCleaner (works for both MAC and Windows) is one of the best tools you can use to get rid of unwanted files.

Another way to create space in your hard drive is to get rid of some system restore and backup points because these also take up too much space.

If you're using Windows XP or an older version of windows, manual hard disk defragment may be the solution for you. Newer versions do not require manual defragging.

2. You May Have Too Many Startup Programs

laptop in the office desk and stainless cup

image source: Pexels

Another answer to the question, "why is my laptop so slow" may be too many startup programs.

Software manufacturers design their programs in such a way that they startup when you start your computer. This way, when you click on the programs' icons, they open up fast.

This swift launch is very advantageous if you use the programs often but may be counterproductive for the applications you don't use as it will only cause your laptop to startup slower.

How To Fix: Disable Some Startup Programs

The only solution to this problem is to reduce the number of startup programs. You can identify which programs startup when you start your laptop by using Autoruns for Windows. This program allows you to see which applications run on startup.

To disable them, all you have to do is check off the checkbox next to the program. This solution to the "why is my laptop so slow" question can work on all Windows operating systems.

MAC users can use the CleanMyMac app, which also shows which applications are running in the background on startup. All you have to do is to disable the programs you don't need starting up from the list of apps listed.

3. Your Room May Be Too Dusty

laptop, notebook mobile phone and pen

image source: Pexels

Sometimes to get an answer to the question, "why is my laptop so slow?" you need to consider your surroundings.

Is your room or office too dusty? How long have you been using your computer and how often have you cleaned the internal parts since you got it?

Dust is one of the things that can slow down your laptop. When there's too much dust accumulated in the fan and other parts of your computer, your PC starts heating up, and your processor may slow down in a bid to use less power and avoid overheating.

How To Fix: Dust Off

To avoid dust buildup and overheating, it is recommended to clean your computer once every few months. If you're not confident to open it by yourself, it's advisable to get a professional to do it.

You should see a change in speed as soon as you've had it cleaned if the dust was the underlying cause of the problem.

4. Your Browser Can't Handle The Number Of Add-ons And Extensions

laptop apps

image source: Pexels

If you're asking why is my laptop so slow because of a slow browser, you should consider reducing the number of add-ons and extensions you have.

Extensions and add-ons use up a lot of memory, and when there are too many, it can significantly slow down your browser.

How To Fix: Remove Some Browser Add-ons And Extensions

To remove unwanted add-ons and extensions, go to the browser's extensions and add-ons manager and disable all the ones you don't need.

You should also consider enabling click-to-play plugins on your browser. Click-to-play plugins allow you to prevent flash applications and other content from loading, thereby preventing them from using CPU time.

And that's not all. With click-to-play plugins, you also get to save battery life, improve page load time, and conserve download bandwidth.

5. You Have A Virus

computer virus

image source: Pexels

Another possible answer to why is my laptop so slow is a virus infection. A virus is a small program that infects your PC and affects normal functioning. A slow computer is one of the common symptoms of a virus infection.

If you don't remove the virus early, it can spread and make your laptop even slower. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of infections and restore your computer to normal processing speed.

How To Fix: Scan For Adware And Malware

To get rid of a computer virus you need to have an anti-virus program installed in your PC. Luckily, Windows and Mac both have excellent anti-virus software, although you can also use third-party services.

Run your antivirus program and clear all the malware and adware that pops up in the scan results.

If you already have an anti-virus program in place, it may help to keep it updated. Updates allow your anti-virus to be able to get rid of new types of viruses. If you are unsure how to go about it, visit your manufacturer's website for the details.

This solution to why is my laptop so slow works for Windows and Mac.

6. Some Programs Are Hogging Processing Powers


image source: Pexels

Another reason why your computer may be running slower than usual is due to resource hungry programs.

One of your applications may be using up 99 percent of your CPU power thereby making things slower when you need to use other programs.

It may also be that one of your application is experiencing a memory leak which causes it to swap disk thereby bringing your laptop slow to a crawl.

Disable Programs You Never Use

If you have a Windows laptop, you can identify the power-hogging application through the Task Manager.

Right click on the taskbar and select "Task Manager." Next, click "CPU," "Memory," and "Disk" to sort the list of applications using the most memory.

If you notice one of the applications is using more resources than the rest, you need to close it normally. If you can't manage to close it normally, do so in the task manager by selecting "End Task" to force it to close.

You can also improve the speed of your laptop by closing system tray programs. These programs launch when you start your computer and are typically hidden on the bottom right of your computer screen. Click on the arrow and disable any programs you are not using.

You should be able to see a significant difference in your PC speed after clearing power-hogging applications.

7. Your Windows OS Is Corrupted

laptop keyboard

image source: Pexels

Corrupt system files can also make your computer to run slow.

There are several reasons why your system files may become corrupted. These include power surges, a complete system crash, mismatched versions, updating errors, and sudden power outage.

How To Fix: Reinstall Windows

If you think a corrupt system file may be the reason why your laptop is slow, the first thing you should do is to determine whether or not the files are corrupted.

You can do this by trying to open them on a different PC. If they open without any problem, there is a great chance your files are corrupted. If the files are still unable to open something is wrong with the files and not your PC.

Once you are certain you have a case of corrupt files, you have two options.

You can use the System File Checker (SFC) command to restore your files to their original state. The SFC scan can only be completed through a command prompt window.

Allow the program to scan your device and complete the process without interrupting it. When it's done, it will tell you whether it found any corrupt files and will let you know if the files were fixed.

If your Windows is still crashing and showing bluescreens even after running SFC, it might be time to reinstall your OS.

Windows reinstallation is a sure bet that your computer will run smoothly because all the files will be reinstalled from scratch. However, before you do this, make sure it's not a hardware problem causing your laptop to slow down.

8. It May Be Time To Trade Your Old Computer For A New One

laptop in a wooden table

image source: Pexels

This solution may not be what you want to hear but the answer to your question, "why is my laptop so slow" may be that your computer is too old.

If you've been using the same machine for more than five years, there is a great chance its age is what is causing the slow speed.

Software manufacturers release advanced programs optimized to run efficiently on newer computers. As a result, your computer hardware may be having a difficult time trying to keep up with the demands of the new software.

How To Fix: Upgrade Or Get A New Laptop

The only solution to this problem is to upgrade your computer or buy a new one.

It's better to get a new one with more disk space, a higher processing speed, and updated hardware -- primarily because upgrading may cost you a lot of money and not offer you everything you need.

However, if you are on a tight budget, it may be a good idea to upgrade as you plan to get yourself a new laptop.

Did We Find Your Solution To "Why Is My Laptop So Slow?"

As you can see, there may be many reasons why your laptop is acting up and not performing at its normal speed. It might be that your room is too dusty or something is up with the hardware or software.

Before you try anything, try to diagnose the root cause of your problem. Otherwise, you will end up wasting too much time on a solution that may not be suitable for your problem.

The tips we've provided are very effective and are sure to fix your problem on "why is my laptop so slow" within no time. Try them and say hello to better processing speeds.

Have you tried any of our tips before, did they work? Which one did we leave out that you think should have made it to the list? Share your views and opinions in the comments section below.

Learn How to Increase RAM for Better Computer Performance Right Now

how to increase ram

Image by skeeze from Pixabay 

Do you struggle with a slow computer? Do you need more power for heavy programs or games? Learning how to increase RAM will get you there.

I remember when one gigabyte (GB) of RAM was more than enough. And I remember how soon that was no longer the case. That was when I first decided to learn how to increase RAM myself. While it seemed a bit scary at first, I found that it was easy, and I’ve kept my computers fast this way ever since.

memory sticks

Image by Joshua Robins from Pixabay 

Most computers let you upgrade their memory capacity. It’s not just a way to achieve high performance -- it also helps you get more use out of aging computers, helping to keep them up to date.

Upgrading doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Keep reading to learn how to increase RAM on your computer.

What Is RAM?

RAM stick

image source: pixabay

Random access memory (RAM for short) is among the most crucial elements of computer performance. RAM plays a key role in how fast your computer is and what software it can run. That's why knowing how to increase RAM is so useful.

RAM is the working memory that temporarily holds data for whatever your computer is currently working on. This eases the load on the processor and speeds up data transfers. Without sufficient RAM, your computer becomes slow and prone to crashing.

What RAM Should You Get?

laptop RAM

image source: pixabay

Like other computer components, RAM comes in a variety of formats and differs in both power and compatibility. Determining what you need is often the hardest part of increasing RAM. Therefore, it’s best to get an understanding of what sets different RAM modules apart.

Types of RAM


image via: pixabay

First of all, laptops don’t use the same type of RAM inserts as stationary computers. Desktops typically use DIMM modules, which have a long, rectangular shape. For laptops, you need smaller SODIMM ones.

Furthermore, RAM itself has many uses and formats beyond the ones we’re handling here. One example in computers is VRAM, or video RAM, which refers to your graphics card’s memory. Another term for it is GDDR. It’s important to distinguish between the two when you learn how to increase RAM.

The proper term for the form of RAM you’re looking to upgrade is SDRAM. It’s an upgraded type of DRAM, which is what computers use to have. More specifically, DDR SDRAM is what modern computers use.

Moreover, there are a few different versions of DDR SDRAM. Let’s look closer at them.

DDR2 has been around since 2003, but it isn’t very common these days. If you’re looking to increase RAM on a really old computer to relive some childhood games, this is probably the kind you want.

DDR3 came about in 2007 and still sees a fair amount of use. It’s faster and stronger than its predecessor.

DDR4 takes performance to even higher levels. It hit the markets in 2014 and is the modern standard.

Each generation has a higher bandwidth and thus a higher operating rate than the one before. They’re NOT interchangeable, and each computer only takes one type. They even differ in physical shape and won’t fit in the wrong system. For desktops, the most important consideration when upgrading RAM is what type your motherboard is compatible with.

DDR5 SDRAM may appear in late 2019 at the earliest. Although it may offer speeds up to twice as fast, it won’t be a widely used option anytime soon.

Specifications and varieties

Even RAM modules of the same type and generation can vary in performance. When you go shopping to increase RAM on your computer, you should pay attention to the specifications of each promising component. The two key factors here are speed and latency.

RAM speed refers to the total relative speed of a module. Common examples are DDR4 2400 and DDR4 3200, with the latter being the faster one.

Latency or timing is how long it takes for a RAM module to access its memory storage. You’ll find this figure as a sequence of four numbers, such as 5-5-5-15. Lower numbers mean faster operation.

Some computer motherboards only support RAM up to a certain speed limit. Therefore, you’ll want to see what this limit is and whether you can raise it with a BIOS update before you try to increase RAM. Otherwise, you may end up with incompatible components.

Higher speeds and lower latencies bump up the price significantly. Unless you want to maximize your computer’s performance, they don’t make a huge difference.

However, it’s important that you get ones that match. The voltage, timing, and CAS latency must be the same across all your DIMMs. To some extent, you can adjust this manually in the BIOS menu, but you may find it difficult. Also, this means adjusting the stronger ones to match the weakest.

Modules with different speed ratings can work together if the other specifications match. However, they will all sync to the slowest one, which means it’s a waste of money to install a faster DIMM among slow ones.

Minimum requirements

Next, let’s determine the real number you should aim to surpass. There are a few steps to this.

First of all, you’ll want to look at whichever games and other software you want to run. What are their official requirements, and what do people recommend?

Please remember that you’ll need even more if you want to run more programs at once. For example, if you’re going to edit heavy files while streaming audio or video in your browser. Or perhaps you want to live stream or record and edit your gaming sessions. This takes a lot of RAM.

As a rule of thumb, more is better. That is, as long as you don’t get much more than you need.


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Eight GB of RAM is our recommended minimum for a typical computer. If you’re a gamer, 12 to 16 GB should be plenty. For video editing, music production, and photoshopping, it’s best to get as much as you can. Sixteen GB should be enough for all normal purposes, but big projects and 3D editing may call for more.

If you’re wondering how to increase RAM for a general speed boost without overdoing it, all it takes to determine the required amount is to open the task manager. On a Windows system, you access it by pressing Control, Shift, and Escape simultaneously.

In your task manager, you’ll find a performance tab. Under this tab, there will be readings and graphs showing you how much RAM your computer’s using. You can also see how many SDRAM slots are in use and how many are free.

Last but not least, computer memory modules work in pairs. You need an even number of them, and it’s best if a pair consists of identical ones.

Maximum capacity

So, you know the minimum you need, but what’s the most you can achieve? This is an essential aspect of how to increase RAM, and it differs between computers in a few ways.

First, there’s a limit to how much RAM your motherboard can handle. There are only a few sockets for RAM modules and a maximum speed limit for your motherboard. You can get a better motherboard if necessary, but be careful -- other components in your computer, such as your processor, may not be compatible with a new motherboard. Make sure to do your research.

Next, there are the limitations of your operating system. For example, old 32-bit versions of Windows have a maximum RAM limit of 4 GB.

64-bit systems reach higher, with Windows 7 capping at 8 or 16 GB depending on the edition, and Windows 10 Home reaching up to 128 gigabytes. While other versions of the latter can go up to an incredible two terabytes, that’s far beyond what any ordinary computer needs or allows.

Before you continue learning how to increase RAM, you should figure out the necessary details about your computer. What motherboard does it have, and what are its limits? How many DIMM slots are open and what are your existing modules? What operating system do you run?

There are free tools that help you with this. Speccy is one such program.

How to Increase RAM on a Desktop


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Let’s begin by looking at how to increase RAM on stationary computers, as those are both easier and more suitable for upgrades. In most cases, all you’ll need is an ordinary Phillips-head screwdriver.

One additional thing that’s helpful is an anti-static grounding wrist strap. These nifty bracelets help prevent accidental shocks. Since static electricity discharges can damage your computer components, this is a strong recommendation.

Preparing the computer

First of all, you must unplug your computer. Then, you’ll want to move it to a suitable desk or table. Pick a spot that’s clean, dry, and ideally cool. Also, avoid carpets and rugs, since they will contribute to static electricity.

Next, unscrew the screws that hold the access panel of your PC and place them somewhere where you won’t lose them. The access panel is usually the left side of the casing. On some computers, you have to remove the whole cover.

Before we get into the main task of how to increase RAM on a desktop PC, it’s wise to ground yourself for a moment to release static energy from your body. You can do this by touching the grounding element of a wall socket, a metal sink, or wall radiator. Anything that’s conductive and extends into the ground should work.

Accessing the RAM slots

Now, you’re ready to reach inside your PC. Let’s look at how to increase RAM manually from here.

If you’re unfamiliar with computers and their components, you first need to identify and locate the RAM sockets. The big circuit board is the motherboard, to which all components connect. Its main processor, or CPU, is the big module with fans. You’ll find the DIMM slots near it.

Look for a row of long sockets. There’s usually four of them. Typically, two of these hold thin rectangular modules that stand out perpendicular from the motherboard. These are your DDR DIMMs.

If you want to replace the existing RAM modules with better ones, look for the little tabs that hold them in place in either end. If you press them down all the way, the DIMMs should pop out, and you can remove them safely.

Installing the RAM modules

Now, you’re ready to reach inside your PC. Let’s look at how to increase RAM manually from here.

If you’re unfamiliar with computers and their components, you first need to identify and locate the RAM sockets. The big circuit board is the motherboard, to which all components connect. Its main processor, or CPU, is the big module with fans. You’ll find the DIMM slots near it.

Look for a row of long sockets. There’s usually four of them. Typically, two of these hold thin rectangular modules that stand out perpendicular from the motherboard. These are your DDR DIMMs.

If you want to replace the existing RAM modules with better ones, look for the little tabs that hold them in place in either end. If you press them down all the way, the DIMMs should pop out, and you can remove them safely.

Finishing up

Before you put the access panel back, you should start your computer up and check if everything’s working correctly.

You can see the RAM status in your BIOS. If it doesn’t show up when you boot up the computer, you can access it by pressing the right F-number key during startup. The exact key differs between machines. If you use Windows 10, you can also go to "settings," browse to the "system" page, and view the "about" tab.

If the reading displays less memory than it should, something’s wrong. There can be a few different explanations to this.

First, you should check whether all RAM modules attached correctly. If one is loose, lock it in properly. If they all seem fully seated, look if there’s any dust or dirt on the connectors. Remember to unplug your computer first and be careful about static electricity.

If this doesn’t fix your problem, you should double check that you got compatible modules that don’t exceed your computer’s maximum capacity. If you’re certain that it’s right, but it still doesn’t work, you may have a defective module.

Before you conclude that something’s broken, there are a few more things to try.

Once everything’s up and running, you can attach the access panel again and enjoy your boosted performance. Now you know how to increase RAM on a desktop PC.

How to Increase RAM on a Laptop


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Laptops are a different beast when it comes to how to increase RAM. While some laptops have an access panel that allows for fairly easy upgrades, this isn’t the norm.

In many cases, you must take your laptop apart to add RAM. Furthermore, some laptops won’t let you change components at all. These models have the RAM soldered to the motherboard. Ultra-portable laptops almost always have this design.

Which type you have may not be evident. Therefore, it’s best to consult your computer’s user manual or Google it to find out.

Preparing the computer

It’s easier if you learn where the SODIMMs are on your laptop before you start opening it. This way, you may not have to disassemble the whole thing. Bigger laptops often have specific access pads for this reason. However, small ones don’t.

Either way, it’s helpful to know how to reach the modules. On some models, you remove the keyboard. Others have you remove the whole bottom. Sometimes the SODIMMs are right behind an access panel. Once again, your user manual is helpful.

Before you open up your laptop, you’ll want to unplug it and remove the battery. Then, you set it on a suitable table or desk. Avoid rugs and carpeted rooms, since they’ll cause static electricity which can damage your computer.

Next, unscrew the screws and remove anything that’s in the way. Now, you’re ready to get to the most crucial element of how to increase RAM on a laptop.

Accessing the RAM slots

Even if you know where to find the memory modules, you’re dealing with a very cramped space. Furthermore, laptop memory doesn’t look like the ordinary DIMMs you may be familiar with.


image via: pixabay

Before you reach into your laptop, you should release any static electricity in your body. You can do this by touching a conductive metal object other than your computer. This helps avoid damaging shocks to the circuitry. You can also use an anti-static wrist band for extra safety.

Once you have access to the RAM modules, look for the plastic clips that hold it in place. Push or pull them apart to release the SODIMM. It’ll often pop out diagonally. Next, grab it by the edge and gently pull it out. Avoid touching the golden connectors.

Installing the RAM modules

Now for the most literal aspect of how to increase RAM on laptops. Once you have a free slot, you can start installing the new module. If you just removed one, remember its orientation and the angle at which it came out. That makes it easier to get your new SODIMM in the right way.

The module should go in with the gold connectors first. Don’t try to force it in. If it doesn’t click into place, try a different angle. You’ll know when it’s right because the plastic clips will click into place to hold it still.

Now, you can put everything back in place. Then it’s time to start your computer and check the results.

Finishing up

This step of how to increase RAM is the same for laptops and desktops. You can check the system information or go to your BIOS screen on startup to check how much RAM is available. If something’s wrong, you’ll find troubleshooting instructions under the desktop section.

Ready to Upgrade Your RAM?

Now you know how to increase RAM for better computer performance. While there are many steps, it’s a pretty easy process. And after the upgrade, you’ll be so happy that you figured out how to increase RAM and went through with it.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your improved computer performance!

Do you have questions and comments to share? Leave a comment below or contact us here.

Basic Computer Skills You Need to Know for Professional Success

women showcasing their basic computer skills

So many of us use our computers every day without even thinking about it. Whether we use a laptop or a desktop, basic computer skills are essential to every day living.

We communicate through our computer for both personal and professional reasons. Understanding how a computer works and strengthening our basic computer skills are necessary life skills.

It may sound daunting, but learning basic computer skills is easy, once you know what you are looking at. Applying these skills can help streamline your computer usage at work and in your personal life, too!

Basic Computer Skills: Getting to Know Your Computer


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Before we can get into basic computer skills that everyone should know, you need to get familiar with the parts of a computer.

Whether it’s a sleek gaming PC, an ancient desktop or a tiny hobby PC build, most every computer will have these essential parts and will run in a similar way.

Take a peek inside

repairing a computer

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay 

If you were to open up a computer, you would see a bunch of different electronic components connected to a circuit board. This circuit board is called a motherboard. Think of it as both the skeleton and circulatory system of your computer.


The central processing unit (CPU) is the workhorse of your computer’s brain. This component determines how fast your computer runs.

The random access memory (RAM) is like your computer’s chalkboard for working out calculations. The more RAM you have, the more programs (or fewer, but more complex programs) your computer can handle without getting bogged down.

The storage drive is your computer’s long term memory. Anything that needs to stick around for the long haul, like your applications and data, is stored in a storage drive.

On some systems, this storage drive is a hard drive. A hard drive is made up of two magnetic plates that spin around.

Another type of storage drive is a solid state drive. A solid state drive stores your data on special types of computer chips. Unlike a hard drive, a solid state drive does not have any moving parts.

Eyes and ears

To create graphics and sound, your CPU can take care of these jobs. Alternatively, you may have separate components called cards that plug into the motherboard.

In the case of sound, any sound created by the CPU or sound card will then be output to a sound device. That can be speakers, headphones, or some other interface like Bluetooth speakers.

Likewise, graphics that are created by the CPU or graphics card are sent to the display output. That is generally a monitor or laptop display. Depending on your graphics card and operating system, you may also be able to display graphics to multiple displays or remote displays.

Tell me what to do

To use a computer, you need input devices. The most common tools are a keyboard and mouse.

Your average keyboard includes 84 different keys, and some may include up to 101. These include letters, numbers, as well as function keys and unique keys. Keyboards can be attached to your computer with a wire or be wireless.

A mouse allows you to move a cursor around on your display. On laptops, you may use a trackpad which emulates the same movements you would perform with a mouse.

Some laptops and desktops now include touchscreens. Many touchscreens can emulate both keyboards and mouse movement.