Today’s cool tool is not free, and not software. If you’re looking for free software, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a tool that will seriously speed up your computer, keep on reading.
Today’s free tool is a solid state drive. Specifically, this one from Kingston. In general, any of them would work.
Bettie’s PC had been having problems for a while, slowness, unresponsiveness, just a generally bad user experience. It seemed to me as if there might be some problems with a disk, with the long delays occurring while the bad drive tried to read that nonfunctioning sector. We did some looking using Seagate’s SeaTools, but found no problems (although I found out later that S.M.A.R.T. monitoring was turned off in the BIOS. Haven’t tried since turning it on.), so we looked to a hardware solution.
Getting the SSD was part one. Installing Windows 7 was part 2. Dropping in a new 2T drive to hold everything else will be the final part. We’re not pushing too hard on that, though, because we are flat-out, jaw-on-the-floor flabbergasted by the speed of her “new” PC. It’s a dual-core box with 3G of RAM. Under XP it scored a user rating of “Ooooooh, this frustrates me so much!!!!”. With the dual change of SSD and Win7, the new rating is “I likes it!!”. Same CPU, same memory, same on-mobo video. This is not a gaming machine, by any means (it’s about 4 years old), but it’s one seriously fast box now. It seems quicker than my quad-core 8G machine running Win7 (both 32-bit, so it’s only using 3.X gigabytes of my memory) that’s two years newer, has faster memory, and a decent video card.
A new SSD is not something you pick up over lunch. For the price, we could have gotten almost 4T of spinning disk. That’s about 64 times as much storage – nothing to be sneezed at.
But if somebody comes to me asking advice on building a system, I’m going to recommend a SSD for the operating system, and then spinning disk for picture/music/video storage. Because the SSD is so fast I think I’m in California, and, like, you know, totally wow. Man.