I have a fairly old laptop that is very unresponsive. It takes forever to login and to start applications. I have done everything else I can think of, within budget, to try to optimize it:
Replaced the 5400RPM drive with a 7200RPM one when the original 5400 drive failed (SSD was just too expensive)
Upgraded the RAM to 8GB
Disabled most of the appearance effects in windows Performance settings
Cleared out junk files
Defragmented the harddrive
Disabled any non-important or non-essential services/apps from startup.
But it's responsiveness is still miserable, and I am pretty sure it's the harddrive (defraggler benchmarked it's random read speed at about 3.2MBps, that's pretty low). I was thinking about using a flashdrive for both readyboost, and to put the swap file on, to see if it would help. Issue is, the system doesn't have USB 3.0 ports AFAIK. Would a USB 2.0 drive even help at all? Especially since, due to the intent being that it would stay plugged into the system, I would need one of those nano-sized ones that are barely the size of the USB port itself so it wouldn't accidentally get off. Aren't those even slower than a normal Flashdrive though? Would using a Nano USB 2.0 flashdrive even give any performance difference at all?