This instructable will tell you how to get that junker out of the basement and get it to working standards again. You don't need to be a nerd or geek to upgrade your old laptop. (also all pictures of the laptop before painting are generic, because I did this instructable after painting.)
Step 1: Things You Will Need
here are some things you will need to do each step of this project.
For painting you will need spray paint, a exact-o knife, card board, construction paper, masking tape and (if you want a design on it) the design.
For a new OS you will need the OS on a CD, a CD drive, some time, and popcorn.
If your computer is lagging even on a minimal OS you probably will need some more RAM. luckily you can find RAM all over the internet, But be sure that the website is trust able. To install more RAM you will need the RAM, screwdrivers, and a cup.
Step 2: Painting
OK, first get all of your supplies. Got 'em? OK, now start by covering all parts you don't want to be painted by construction paper and masking tape, and taking the battery out of the laptop. Now you need to spray in a well ventilated area. spray in even strokes and try to get it all with one can because I had to switch cans in the middle with mine and they didn't have my first kind. Now you should let it sit over night. In the mean time you can order the RAM and download the OS. Tip: be sure to let the paint completely dry, if you don't it could ruin this entire project. To put on a decal just print the picture out and exact-o knife out the parts that you want to see and masking tape it down then spray quickly so it doesn't glob up and run.
Step 3: Getting the OS
OK, now depending on how old your computer is you might need a different OS.
If your laptop has 512mb or more of RAM you can probably put Ubuntu on there. Ubuntu is extremely user friendly and has TONS of free downloads for it.
If your laptop falls short of that mark you will probably want to put Puppy Linux on your laptop. Puppy Linux is what I have on my Laptop and it works really well, it isn't as user friendly as Ubuntu but it is pretty easy to use.
Now if your laptop can't load puppy Linux you can do one of two things. One put Damn Small Linux (DSL) on your computer, Or two the better of the two choices, go out and look on the curb for a better computer.
OK now that it is installing you should make some popcorn and get comfy for a long wait if your computer is really slow.
Step 4: RAM
OK, now to get ram first you need to know what model your computer is. Now that you know that go on to Google and search Ram(insert computer name here) and go to a site and see if at the bottom it has a Copyright or Mcafee protected logo of some indication that it is a viable source. Now to install the ram is easy just look at the bottom of your laptop and you should see a cover held in place by one or two screws, unscrew them and then you can slide back a latch and the ram should pop up to a 45* angle. You can just slide the old RAM out and put the new RAM in.