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.

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