I wold not buy anything to fix or upgrade a 9 year old laptop since you can find newer replacements for about $200 or less that are actually working without buying parts to test on yours. If you can find some cheap or free RAM to test with, try that.
I just bought an almost new Dell laptop with a solid state drive for under $200, so you can find some good used deals, usually locally on craigslist gets you the best prices and you can see it in person.
Thanks for the reply, however even $100 is out of my budget, since this is more of a "can I fix it" than a "I need to fix it". I don't want to waste money, so my budget is low. I have no need for another PC, and this one works fine for the way it's being used.
I know asking this was a long shot: I was asking if someone had experienced something similar to determine if it was one component that had gone bad or more than one. If it's one, and that one is replaceable, I can probably get it for cheap enough.
I think I can test the RAM though, so thank you for that idea, I'll check the clock speed first. I remember the time a new desktop had a one-time glitch where the UEFI had automatically lowered the RAM clock speed, maybe that's what happened and I just never thought to check? Thank you for that idea, too. I'll try them out.
Edit: RAM was fine, processor as well. Both were running at the factory clock, so now I have no clue what it is.