A. If you’re talking about making it process data, such as video encoding, then your options are limited.

Some early model netbooks, including the MSI Wind U100, had an option to overclock the 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor up to around 2GHz – but this was much the exception to the general rule.

Bottom line, unless you can somehow overclock the CPU, there’s basically little you can do to make it run faster. An even so, overclocking in a netbook isn’t recommended long term because they simply don’t have the cooling hardware required to handle the extra heat. Remember, notebooks are designed down to a price, not up to a performance.

Now if we’re talking about opening applications and just general zippiness, there is an option – and that’s to add more memory. Most netbooks only come with 1GB of memory but you’ll find that many come with a SO-DIMM memory socket. That means you can replace the 1GB memory stick with a 2GB stick. Doubling the memory will enable Windows – whether it’s XP Home Edition SP3 or Windows 7 Starter – to have more room to play with before it needs to start calling on the hard drive for scratch space.

Either take your netbook to a local PC vendor and get them to install the memory for you – or do it yourself. Although you need to be warned – even doing this might void your warranty.

But aside from these two options, there are few other things you can do to speed up most netbooks, simply because they use a very low power CPU that just doesn’t have the grunt to support much more than basic applications.

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