HP offers some of the most popular laptops on the market. They range from budget-friendly and affordable to top-of-the-line, premium laptops that can handle resource-heavy tasks such as video editing and audio production.
But the usefulness of these laptops hinges on them performing fast and efficiently, allowing you to stay as productive as possible. So understandably, it can be an incredibly frustrating experience when your HP laptop starts to slow down.
That is why today, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of why your HP laptop might be slowing down, as well as all the fixes you’ll need to get it back to complete working order as soon as possible.
Why does your HP laptop so slow?
Table of Contents
- Why does your HP laptop so slow?
- How to fix an HP laptop running slow
Generally speaking, if a laptop is slowing down, it’s due to a lack of resources to run the tasks you’d like at an adequate speed.
Fortunately, there are many things we can do as users to free up room and manage our resource usage to get things moving a little more efficiently.
Here’s a rundown of all the primary factors contributing to an HP laptop slowing down.
Too many startup programs
When we first turn the machine on, Windows will boot to the desktop and automatically launch any programs it has been instructed to run on startup.
Sometimes without even realizing it, we can slowly accumulate more and more programs that automatically open when turning the laptop on. These can bog the machine down and prevent it from running fast and efficiently.
By looking at which programs are set to launch on startup and removing any that are not completely necessary, we can often free up a ton of system resources to speed the machine up.
Not enough RAM
RAM or Random Access Memory is responsible for storing essential data that your computer’s processor can grab fast, much faster than a regular hard disk.
So if you don’t have enough RAM in your machine, your processor will not be able to get that ‘quick data’ it wants and will instead need to get it from the hard drive, which takes much longer, thus slowing the machine down.
To fix this, we can either remove or disable some programs using too much RAM or increase the amount of RAM in our laptops.
Virus or malware
Viruses and malware will use hidden processes on our machine to execute commands on the attacker’s behalf. These hidden malicious processes often take up a lot of system resources without us realizing it.
So using a solid antivirus program to remove any malicious programs running on your computer will help free up system resources and speed up the laptop.
As computer hardware ages, there’s the compounding issue of it not performing as well as it used to. Plus, often, as the software and programs we use a daily update, they tend to demand more system resources over time.
So we have this double issue of software demanding more while older hardware struggles to perform like it used to.
The hard disk is full
Even if you are not downloading any files, a full hard disk can slow down the performance as your computer needs to use a lot of ‘temporary’ space to function adequately.
Ensuring there is a reasonable amount of free hard disk space will help speed up your machine a lot. Fortunately, hard disk space is cheaper these days, and most HP laptops have expandable storage.
Browser using too many system resources
These days people tend to lean towards two primary browsers for using the internet. The most popular is Google Chrome, followed by Mozilla Firefox.
Firefox is a bit of a CPU hog, while Google Chrome uses a massive amount of ram to store information about closed tabs and cached data.
We can take a few steps to lower the number of resources our browsers use, which can help speed up the machine a bit.
Most computer components have protection integrated into them to prevent themselves from being damaged or even melting, so when there is too much heat, they will actively underclock themselves (work less) to produce less heat, resulting in slower system performance.
Ensuring the computer has adequate airflow and that the fans are not clogged up by dust is vital to ensuring the machine can stay cool and operate efficiently.
How to fix an HP laptop running slow
Now that we’ve taken a look at all the main reasons why your HP laptop might be running slow, let’s take a look at some steps you can take to speed up your machine.
Following through with these fixes in order will produce an immediate increase in laptop performance.
So, before we start messing around with system settings and software, the first thing to do is a simple restart.
Often updates can become stuck, the software can encounter bugs that slow your machine down, and a good old restart can help give your device a fresh start.
Make sure to completely power down the machine, unplug the power cable, and wait for 30 seconds. Then plug it back in and boot it up, also known as a “hard reset.”
While we understand that updating Windows can be tedious, we’re often quick to hit the “remind me later” button and put it off.
Those updates are essential to protect the computer and keep it in good working order.
If you find that your computer is not running well, ensuring Microsoft Windows and other common software are using the most recent versions available is very important.
To perform a Windows Update, click the search icon on the taskbar and type in “update,” and an app will show up called “check for updates.” Click that and then hit the “Check for updates” button near the top.
Windows will then check if there are any available updates and prompt you to install them. Follow through that process and then restart your machine.
Clean the registry and update drivers
The Microsoft Windows registry is a database of settings and program information vital to your machine’s smooth operation. But it can become cluttered over time and even have corrupt registry entries, contributing to your computer running slow.
Likewise, system drivers are responsible for smoothly running hardware components and peripherals. If these become corrupt or have a bad install, they will cause your hardware to not run optimally, slowing down your computer.
You can use software such as CCleaner or an equivalent to help clean up the registry and check that all your drivers are up to date.
Remove old or unused programs
Sometimes as we change our computers using habits, software we previously would use daily gets left to the wayside, taking up space and system resources when it no longer serves any purpose.
To clean these now-defunct programs up, click on the search bar and type in “add or remove programs.”
This will list every installed app/software program on your computer. Check through them and uninstall any you are sure are unnecessary now, and you will be able to free up both hard disk space and system resources.
Manage startup programs
When Windows first boots up, it will have instructions to start specific programs. This is mainly for your convenience, so you don’t go and have to manually click the software you know you will use every time the computer boots.
If Windows is starting software you don’t need or no longer use, it’s just needlessly hogging up system resources.
Fortunately, we can review what tasks Windows will try to launch on startup and then manually disable them using the following steps:
- Right-click on the taskbar and click on “Task Manager.”
- This will open a new window; navigate to the fourth tab, “Startup.”
- Here it will list every program Windows will automatically start.
- Find each piece of software you no longer wish to have automatically run, right-click on it, and click “disable.”
By stopping Windows from running unnecessary software on startup, we can free up many system resources and speed up the HP Laptop.
Free up hard disk space
A hard disk that doesn’t have enough free space for Windows to run freely is a surefire way to slow your machine down. If you find that simply removing your old programs isn’t enough, we can use a handy piece of software called the “Disk Cleanup tool.”
This helps us find old and unnecessary temporary files and error logs, which can conveniently select and delete with a single button.
You’ll usually find you can recover a good few GBs of storage space back with this tool!
Depending on what kind of virus or malware is on your system, you can experience a massive slowdown as the malicious processes take all your system resources to run their tasks.
Using well-established and trusted antivirus software such as Windows Defender or Avast Antivirus to detect and remove any malicious files is essential to keeping your machine running smoothly and without slowdown.
Update system hardware
Unfortunately, HP Laptops aren’t as easy to upgrade as desktop machines. If your CPU is the limiting factor, then generally, your only real option is to upgrade the entire laptop.
However, things like hard drives and RAM are generally expandable or replaceable. So, if you identify that one of those is a limiting factor in the laptop performance, consider expanding their storage amount or operation speed to improve how fast your laptop runs significantly.
Check your browser
Internet browsers have become natural resource hogs over the last decade, with Google Chrome, in particular, helping itself to a good amount of your machine’s RAM to run.
Two things you can do to reduce the impact that internet browsers have on your machine are first to manage the number of open tabs. Thirty open tabs on Google Chrome can obliterate less powerful devices, so consider closing any that aren’t necessary.
The next thing we can do is clean out the browser cache and remove cookies which can help improve the browser’s performance.
Manage the temperature of your machine
When your machine gets hot, it slows down. If your device gets too hot, it will completely turn itself off to protect the components from damage. So ensuring your laptop has adequate airflow is essential.
One of the most common causes of a laptop overheating is dust build-up in the fans and heat exhausts.
You may need to unscrew the bottom casing of the machine to access the fans, but cleaning them out with a small brush or compressed air will allow the laptop to carry the heat away from the components faster.
In addition, if your computer’s intake fans are on the bottom of the laptop, ensuring there is adequate space underneath the computer so it can take air in is also very important.
Often people will use their laptop on a soft surface such as a bed which suffocates the fans and hampers their ability to intake fresh air.
General mindfulness of your computer usage
The final thing you can do as a user is just to be mindful of what software you have open. If you’re finished with a task, ensure the program is shut down.
Try only to perform one task at a time. If you absolutely must have multiple pieces of software open at once, use the task manager’s priority system to help your machine allocate more resources to the software you need to run.