HP Laptop Running Slow? Here’s Why & How to Solve It
Last updated: Mar. 28, 2018
Like any PC, an HP laptop will run slowly over time - especially when it shows the age.
But, it doesn't make much sense for a new HP laptop to lag. For example, taking forever to boot up, freezing now and then, etc.
Actually, that just happened to one of my friends, she bought a new HP notebook in a local store. Back in the office, she pressed the start button, guess what?
It took her nearly half an hour to get to the main desktop screen. She brought it back to the store for advice. It turns out that Windows 10 was the culprit. The Windows Update took much longer to complete.
Anyway, in this article, we're going to explore this topic in more details and hopefully, you'll walk away with your HP laptop run faster.
Note: we assume that you've already known and tried the "restart" solution, which is often the quick fix for many PC issues. Instead, we'll first explore the reasons why an HP laptop may run slowly, followed by a few effective ways and tips that could potentially speed it up.
The fixes and tips introduced in this post should apply to all HP laptop models such as Envy 13/15/17, Pavilion 15/17, Spectre, and Stream Notebook as long as it's running Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1, or latest Windows 10.
Why is my HP laptop so slow?
All Windows-based PCs can get clogged up with junk files, unused applications, and many other kinds of system programs. All these can cause performance issues with a variety of symptoms, e.g. slowdowns, hangs, lags, just to name a few. Possible reasons for slow laptop vary from case to case, but they all should fall into three categories in general:
- Hardware issues: not enough RAM, hard drive failing, outdated CPU, lack of storage space, etc.
- Software issues: malware/adware infection, Windows registry errors, poorly designed third-party applications over-consuming system resources, etc.
- Improper using behaviors: running too many apps at once, playing large video games, doing heavy video editing projects, using your notebook in bed, etc.
How to Speed up HP Laptop & Make It Faster
While it's hard to figure out the real culprits without a thorough diagnosis, here are some general fixes (and tips) that should help you identify and fix the problem.
If your laptop is new, try these:
Step 1: Wait until Windows 10 Update is complete
All new HP notebooks in 2018 should be installed with Microsoft's Windows 10 by default. When Windows is setting up the initial update, your laptop will take much longer to boot up. However, there doesn't seem to be a way to get around with this yet.
As Microsoft says, "Windows 10 periodically checks for updates so you don’t have to. When an update is available, it's automatically downloaded and installed, keeping your device up to date with the latest features."
Step 2: Get Rid of Auto-run Programs or Services
Don't be surprised! Almost all new PCs are pre-loaded with plenty of bloatware, in other words, programs that have been installed but most likely you'll never need them. Even worse, some quietly sneak into the startup list and run automatically when your HP boots.
According to this ComputerWorld finding on how much bloatware slows down a PC , it says "computers that are free of third-party software...on average, start up 104% faster, shut down 35% faster and have 28 minutes more battery life than the same laptops with bloatware."
How to fix that? You can do it manually of course, but it may require a bit time and technical skills. For geeks, you'll be able to sort that out on your own. For newbies, you can do this with CleanMyPC -- a productivity app made by MacPaw Inc. that we love and recommend.Just click a few "ON > OFF" buttons and you're good to go. Plus, it allows you to uninstall the bloatware in batch - saving you time doing so one by one.
That's pretty much all you can do with a new laptop. If your HP still runs slow after taking these two steps, it's probably due to hardware limitations or improper using habits. For example, your HP is loaded with a mechanical hard disk drive (rather than a faster SSD), or your RAM is inadequate to meet heavy work such as photo/video editing.
Also, don't forget to check out the "Additional Tips" section below to get more ideas on how to keep your laptop in good shape.
If your laptop has been used for a while, try these:
1. Check viruses, malware, or adware
Without surprise, virus and malware are often the top concern when it comes to PC performance issues. They can cause serious damage such as crash your computer, as well as do smaller damage like slowing down your PC performance, collecting private information, compromising security, or causing data loss, etc.
To find out whether your machine has been caught by virus or malware, we recommend you run a full scan with Bitdefender Antivirus Plus — one of the best antivirus software in the world as of 2018. A good alternative is Malwarebytes.
Adware or spyware, on the other hand, can also bog down your PC, especially when you are surfing the Internet via a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.). Adware is able to inject flash ads or redirect search queries to spammy advertising websites, often without your awareness. To check and remove the malicious software, use Webroot Internet Security.
2. Clean up the Hard Drive
It's a common myth that emptying disk space will speed up computers (source) as there is no scientific data to back it up. However, in our experience, having more storage space often makes a PC (and Mac) run better, as least we feel so.
You can't solve all performance problems just by using some magic utility, but cleaning up the hard drive won't go wrong. Plus, a cleaner PC is also a productivity booster as it helps you find wanted files faster, and be more organized.
There's no better tool for the job than CleanMyPC - like its name indicates, it's a program designed to clean all the junk and unnecessary files, optimize startup items, remove unneeded programs and plugins, and more.
How much free storage should you aim? According to HP Customer Support "Make sure there is at least 15% free space on the hard drive."
3. Fix Windows Registry
You may be told that registry errors can occur especially when you install and uninstall tons of programs, but some of the information is kept in the registry. They can cause many Windows issues such as not able to shut down the system, PC running slow, etc.
That's why you need to check if your HP has Windows registry problems. Unfortunately, the process isn't as easy as it sounds because it requires advanced tech knowledge. Again, we suggest doing this via the "Registry Maintenance" feature in CleanMyPC.
4. The "Annoying" Windows Updates
Don't forget to implement Windows Updates on your PC, especially if you're on Windows 10. Always keep that software you regularly use up-to-date, this helps avoid application freezing issues.
Updating is often ignored by simply clicking "remind me later," but it's by no means a smart decision. To fix that, you can check or enable auto updates by going to This PC > Settings > Updates & Security.
5. Upgrade Hardware (SSD, RAM)
This may seem a no-brainer option, but it's probably the most effective way to speed up an old HP laptop particularly it has been used for several years. The hard drive could die out anytime, and the RAM might be a bottleneck to run large programs.
If so, consider adding more memory or replace the old HDD (hard disk drive) with an SSD (solid state drive). Yes, those upgrades are an extra cost. However, they are still cheaper than buying a new PC, or switching to Mac if you're tired of living in the Microsoft world 🙂
Pro tip: watch this video before you open your laptop's mainframe.
- Don't multitask — close applications you no longer use. While you are browsing the Internet, avoid opening too many tabs at once. Websites floated with ads and flash tend to over-use your system resources quickly.
- Get a cooling pad for your laptop (see HAVIT HV-F2056 on Amazon). This helps prevent the machine fan from overheating.
- Most HP computers are not designed for gaming or photo/video editing. Get to know your device's limit before you run any large third-party programs.
- Try not use the laptop on your lap, in bed, or on any soft surfaces because that's not good for the fan to vent. Consider elevating your machine with a laptop stand like Rain Design mStand. If you are really used to use your laptop in bed, get a special stand like this.
That wraps up this article, I hope you find those fixing tips useful. Do you have another good tip? Share with us below.
Cover image credit to Flickr.