How to upgrade your netbook

Turn your mini laptop into a portable powerhouse

Install a new OS

Installing a new OS can improve your netbook's performance no end. Note that you'll need at least 16GB of space to install Windows 7, however. You'll need to plug in an external optical drive or follow our instructions for installing Windows using a USB drive at tinyurl.com/yayctp6.

If you don't want to replace your current OS, consider a dual-boot setup. GParted is a handy utility for such a task. Download the .iso file for its LiveCD and burn the file on to disc. Insert that disc into the external optical drive, restart your netbook and enter the Bios to alter the boot settings for your machine.

Opt to boot from the optical drive first, causing GParted to load at startup. You'll need to install the new OS on a second partition, which can be created after shrinking the size of your existing partition.

Right-click the primary partition and select Resize/Move. Enter a new partition size of your choosing. Click Resize, and you'll see the new space sitting to the right of your primary partition in GParted's interface.

Right-click this area and select New. Enter 0 in the fields for ‘Free Space Proceeding' and ‘Following'. Now select Primary Partition under ‘Create as' and click the Add button.

If you prefer not to use an external optical drive, the same steps will apply for using a USB key instead.

Re-arrange the keyboard

Another easy upgrade is to alter your keyboard to suit your usual computing habits by physically rearranging the keys. Wedge a tiny screwdriver under any key and gently apply upward pressure to remove a key. Then simply interchange them as you please.

Once you've made the physical transformations, use the Sharp Keys utility to reassign how Windows interprets your keystrokes.

Rearrange_the_keyboard_360

Of course, if you don't mind a bit of visual confusion, you could leave the keys exactly where they are and simply redefine their purpose with this helpful, free application.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags notebooksnetbooks

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?