HP creates some excellent laptops, but not all of them are solid and speedy. Let’s be honest: how many times have you complained about your HP laptop running slow? It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the latest Windows 11, or the older Windows 10.
You know, like any other technology device, an HP laptop will start to slow down over time. It’s just like the law of nature. But if the performance issue happens too soon or too frequently, it’s probably not okay. A slow computer decreases productivity, it’s also bad for our health (source).
There are a number of reasons that could be responsible for the issue, from software problems to old hardware. However, many “culprits” are very easy to fix while others may need a bit of work. Here, we’ve found five possible causes, matched with five simple fix solutions.
Note: this guide works for all types of HP Pavilion laptops, Mini networks, desktop PCs, as long as they run under Windows OS.
1. Viruses and Malware
While viruses are most known for crashing computers and stealing your data, they could also run wild in the background — taking up valuable CPU and memory thus slowing down your PC. Other times, these malicious programs aren’t necessarily out to wreak havoc, but trying to monitor your activities and target you with annoying flash ads.
Remember that your laptop always heats up when you’re browsing specific websites, that’s all because those sites are loaded with heavy ads (with flashes and videos “flying” around).
How to Fix It: Using light-weighted antivirus or malware removal software
Eliminating malicious threats will sure tune up your HP’s overall performance, but how to know whether your computer has been caught, and then how do you get rid of them? There’s a variety of security software out there that can do the job.
For example, Microsoft has a built-in Windows Defender (previously called Microsoft Security Essentials), but it’s not good enough as it failed a number of antivirus tests.
The key is to look for security software that is capable of protecting your HP system against malware threats as well as is lightweight while running.
2. Hard Drive is Getting Full
Sometimes, your HP laptop runs slow simply because it doesn’t have much room left to breathe. When the hard drive is more than 85 percent full, your computer will lag more often. How to find out if your HP has enough free storage space? Click the Start or Windows button on the left corner, then go to This PC . Right-click on your hard drive, select Properties and you’ll see a chart detailing how much space is available.
How to Fix It: Deep cleaning
If you have time and don’t mind getting a bit into technical stuff, you also do this manually. First, run Disk Cleanup to remove the temporary files that your computer accumulates over time (find it with the search tool under the start menu). Then, uninstall any programs that you don’t use anymore.
Still, your HP hard drive is above 85 percent full? It’s probably a good idea to start transferring those large old files that you don’t need anymore to an external hard drive. Items like old family photos, past projects, and redundant backups are probably not the files you access on a daily basis — that makes them perfect for storing on an external drive.
3. Running Too Many Programs at Once
Along with a hard drive, a computer’s RAM is short-term storage for all the programs that are currently in use. Run too many applications at once, you’ll fill up the RAM and see a big drop in overall speed.
To see if that’s what holds your HP laptop back, open Task Manager (by right-clicking on “Taskbar”) and click the CPU column to order the applications by how much they’re making your computer work.
How to Fix It: Close out programs and have better computer habits
The Task Manager gives you a good idea of what programs you should close to speed up your HP. But, you should also take it a step further and develop better habits. Avoid multitasking at all costs. Use Task Manager to discover alternatives to the programs that eat up the most of your CPUs. Firefox, for example, tends to be a bit power hungry while many users find Chrome works a bit faster.
Also, make sure you don’t have too many startup programs that automatically open up when you turn on your HP laptop. Most of the time, you don’t need to uninstall these programs. Instead, just disable them from auto starting up.
4. Windows Registry and Device Driver Issues
The Registry is like a database that stores settings and preferences for programs you’ve installed and Windows OS system files. Over time the registry can become littered after application installation. The typical symptom is that you’ll see error messages and your HP slows down all of a sudden. Similarly, outdated or missing device drivers can cause hardware issues as well as destabilize your computer.
How to Fix It: Clean registry and update drivers
While system registry and device driver errors may sound complicated, they are actually easy to fix. Simply follow the guide in this video:
5. Old or Failing Hardware
Computers age in dog years — or perhaps double dog years. Old hardware is often unable to meet the demands of new technology. If your HP laptop is running slow and it’s already five years old, the age is probably the bottleneck.
How to Fix It: Upgrade Hardware Components
Before you go trade or resell your old HP, consider hardware upgrades. Adding extra RAM will help your computer better handle intense programs, and allow you to multitask again. This video has everything you need to know about memory upgrades.
If you’re using an old HP, replacing the hard drive with an SSD (solid-state drive) is a “speed-guaranteed” way to make your HP faster again because of the tremendous advantage SSDs have over HDDs.
While replacing the SSD may not be practical for all HP laptops, it may be a more affordable solution than buying a new PC. Before you proceed with a new SSD, make sure you check out this HP SSD upgrade guide in advance.
What to Do When Your HP Laptop Touchpad or Mouse Freezes up?
Sometimes, the mouse or touchpad on HP laptops suddenly freezes up — so what can you do to solve the issue when you can’t even move the mouse? A hard restart will often do the trick!
Turn off your laptop, if possible, and unplug the power cable. Then, remove the battery from the back. To drain any remaining power, hold down the on/off button for at least ten seconds. Then, put the battery back in and start everything back up as normal — the touchpad or mouse should return to normal.