Originally, we wanted to travel on the days off we have right now, but that didn't work out, so I made a "wish list" of things I'd like to finish. One of the things on my list was to redo my laptop - that is, install a solid state disk drive, a fresh copy of windows, and organize my files.
I have given a lot of computers at work a new lease on life (and greatly enhanced speed) by installling SSDs. A person with some computer background can do this fairly easily.
I did most of this one yesterday. Of course, since I was taking the hard drive out of the laptop and replacing it, I could have put it in a hard drive enclosure and gotten my files that way. However, I thought it was a good idea to copy all my files to a standalone drive that we use for my knitting stuff, just for a good backup, so I did that.
I made one smart decision - I copied all the device drivers in the Windows driver directories onto my expansion drive, which saved me some time later.
Next step was to replace the hard drive with the SSD. I had already purchased it, and it was sitting here for several weeks, waiting for me to not need the laptop at my office and to find time to do the entire job. Since SSDs are the right size for laptops, the bracket that came with it wasn't necessary. You need the bracket if you're putting an SSD into a desktop computer.
SSDs are kind of expensive. I watch for sales - I like to get a 256GB one for under $200. I prefer at least that much space, and I like Samsung, Crucial, and Corsair brands.
Next job - reinstall Windows 7, and make sure all the devices have good drivers. Several of mine didn't (this is a 2-year-old Sony), so did the "Update Driver" process, having the system look in that copy I made of the driver directories. After that, I reinstalled all the other necessary software, including Adobe, Office, a virus checker, QuickBooks. Finally, I copied my files over and organized them a little better. QB took a long time to install, and Windows did a bunch of updates.
Important note: If you have Design-A-Knit, you should check with your DAK reseller and get instructions on how to uninstall and reinstall it when you redo your computer. If you don't do it correctly, I understand you can lose a "life," which is what they call your rights to use the copy, part of their copy-protection system for DAK.
So - how'd I do? It isn't booting faster yet, because it keeps installing Microsoft updates, but that should stop soon. I am thrilled, though, with the improvement in QuickBooks, which was taking a few seconds to record each transaction before I installed the SSD - now, the wait is gone.