Like any computer, your HP laptop will run slowly over time — especially when it’s showing its age. But if you are using a brand new HP laptop and it starts to lag, slow to boot up, and freezes now and then, something is definitely wrong out there.
In this article, you are going to learn the possible reasons behind a slow HP laptop, along with a few fixes and strategies on how to make your HP laptop faster again.
Note: we assume that you’ve already tried restarting your computer, which is often the quick fix for many PC issues. So we’ll go through the potential causes, followed by solutions and tips to speed up your HP laptop.
The fixes and tips below 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 10 or the latest Windows 11.
Why is My HP Laptop so Slow?
All Windows PCs can get clogged up with junk files, unused applications, and many other types of files and programs. All these may cause performance issues with a variety of symptoms such as slowdowns, hangs, and lags, just to name a few.
Possible reasons for a slow laptop (HP laptops included) vary from case to case, but they all fall into the following three categories:
- Hardware issues: not enough RAM, hard drive failing, outdated CPU, lack of storage space, etc.
- Software issues: malware/virus, Windows registry errors, problematic third-party programs, etc.
- Improper using behaviors: opening too many programs at once, playing large video games, running heavy photo/video editing projects, etc.
How to Make Your HP Laptop Faster
While it’s hard to figure out the real culprits without a thorough diagnosis, here are some general tips that should help you identify and fix the problem.
If You Are Using a New HP Laptop
Step 1: Wait until Windows Update is Complete
Most new HP notebooks come pre-installed with Microsoft Windows 11 operating system. When Windows is setting up the initial update, your laptop will take a bit longer to boot up. And there doesn’t seem to be an effective way to get around this yet.
Step 2: Remove Auto-Run Programs or Services
Almost all new PCs are pre-loaded with some bloatware, in other words, programs that have been installed by default. However, most likely you will never need them. Even worse, some programs sneak into the startup list and run automatically when your HP boots up.
According to this finding from ComputerWorld on how much bloatware can slow 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? There are a lot of manual fixes out there, but they either require time or technical skills (or both) to implement properly. If you are a computer person, you’ll be able to sort that out on your own. If you are new to computers, using a PC cleaner program is recommended.
We recommend CleanMyPC. When you launch the app, go to “Autorun” and switch those unneeded apps from “ON > OFF” and you’re good to go.
Furthermore, you can use the program to uninstall unneeded programs in batches, saving time doing so one by one.
That’s pretty much all you can do with a new laptop that’s running slow or freezing constantly. If your HP laptop is still slow after taking these two steps, it’s probably due to hardware issues or using habits.
For example, your HP is loaded with a mechanical hard disk drive (rather than a faster solid-state drive), or your RAM is inadequate. The solution is quite simple but can be costly — upgrade hardware, scroll down to Fix #5 below for more.
Also, don’t forget to check out the Additional Tips section below to get more ideas about how to keep your laptop in good shape.
If You Are Using an Old HP Laptop
1. Check Viruses and Malware
Viruses and malware are unsurprisingly the top concern when it comes to PC performance issues.
They can cause serious damage such as crashing your computer, as well as slowing down PC performance, collecting private information, compromising security, causing data loss, etc.
To find out whether your HP computer has been caught by a virus or malware, you should run an antivirus scan.
Adware or spyware, on the other hand, can also bog down your system performance, especially when you are surfing the Internet. Adware often injects flash ads or redirects search queries to spammy websites, often without your awareness or permission.
2. Clean up Hard Drive
Although it’s a myth that cleaning a disk will speed up a computer, it is our experience that having more disk space often makes a computer perform better.
You can’t solve all performance problems just by using a magic utility, but cleaning up the hard drive won’t go wrong. Plus, a cleaner PC will help boost your personal productivity.
Again, you can manually clean up all kinds of junk and unnecessary files, optimize startup items, remove unneeded programs/plugins, etc, or rely on a PC cleaning tool to do so for efficiency.
How much free storage should you aim to get? According to HP Customer Support:
“Make sure there is at least 15% free space on the hard drive.”
3. Fix Windows Registry
Registry errors can occur, especially when you often install and uninstall third-party programs, some of the information is kept in the registry. They may cause many Windows issues such as, not being able to shut down the system, causing your PC to run slowly, etc.
That’s why you need to check if your HP has Windows registry problems. Unfortunately, the process isn’t as easy as it may sound. Watch this video on how to do it:
4. The “Annoying” Windows Updates
Yeah, I know. I also hate Windows updates. But they are super important if your HP computer is running on Windows 10 or Windows 11.
Updating is often ignored by simply clicking “remind me later,” but it’s by no means an intelligent decision. To adjust 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.
The hard drive could corrupt any day, and the RAM might be the bottleneck to running large programs. Consider adding more memory or replacing the old HDD (hard disk drive) with an SSD (solid-state drive).
Yes, a hardware upgrade means extra cost. It’s still cheaper than buying a new PC.
- Try not to multitask — always close applications you no longer use. While you are browsing the Internet, avoid opening too many tabs at once.
- Pay attention to those websites filled with video ads as they tend to overuse your laptop’s system resources and cause HP to warm up and overheat. Consider using an ad blocker extension/plugin.
- Get a cooling pad for your laptop. This helps prevent your HP laptop fan from running out wild and overheating.
- Most laptops are not designed for gaming or photo/video editing. It’s best that you get to know your computer’s limit before running any large third-party programs.
- Try not to use the laptop on your lap, in bed, or on any soft surfaces because that’s not good for the heat to vent. Consider elevating your machine with a laptop stand.
That wraps up this troubleshooting guide. If you have any other questions related to HP laptop running slow, leave a comment below and let us know.