Get an SSD hard disk. The biggest one your budget allows for. While the SSD may not perform to its max performance (it will be connected into an old laptop with a slower SATA hard disk controller after all), it will be a serious speed boost.
On average an SSD will be at least 10 times faster than the hard disk that is currently inside the laptop. And in holt's case, that is the only option left to speed up his windows-based laptop. If his current hardware setup cannot be adjusted, then replacing his Windows with a newbie-friendly Linux distribution (Linux Mint) would be a better option. Did you already check/fix the alignment of your hard disk? This will enable Windows to read/write faster to your hard disk. Windows will start working 10% to 15% faster after leaving the laptop on for a night while software is fixing alignment issues.
Removing the page file is not something I would advise anyone to do, even when they have 32GByte of RAM or more in their PC. Above 16GByte of RAM you can start reducing the size of the paging file. The Windows memory controller is smart enough to use the available RAM and won't mind working with a reduced page file. But no page file? Windows becomes unstable (the part that controls memory).
Disabling the onboard RAM?!? The only thing you accomplish with that is that the laptop won't boot at all! Anything you connect externally won't work as fast as the parts inside a laptop or PC. Never ever consider replacing internal parts with USB-based external parts to be a good or smart idea! Last resort option, sure.