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Few everyday things are more frustrating than a laptop that freezes at every click, shows choppy animations, and takes forever to load apps. Fortunately, fixing a slow HP laptop is easier than you might think.
Hardware, software, and user habits — this trio slows down your HP laptop. We’ll learn to pinpoint precisely why your HP laptop is so slow. Next, we’ll troubleshoot and fix the problems we investigated.
This guide uses official HP tools and utilities to diagnose and tune up your slow HP laptop.
Every laptop slows down as it gets older
Table of Contents
- Common Symptoms
- Why is My HP Laptop So Slow
- How to Make an HP Laptop Faster
- FAQs for Slow HP Laptop
The starting point of our investigation is establishing a timeline. When did you start noticing the lag? Did it start a long time ago and get progressively worse?
If so, it’s a common symptom of an old HP laptop showing its age. We’ve talked about how long laptops last in detail, but the bottom line is this:
Every laptop slows down as it gets older. And while there are a few ways to extend their lives, you can do little about age-related slowdown. But if your HP laptop suddenly feels slow (say, after an update), there are a few easy fixes you can try.
We’re listing a few common symptoms here. Take note of which applies to your laptop.
- Your laptop takes forever to boot up — often related to faulty hardware.
- The performance is choppy, and screens freeze or crash — usually from software corruption or overload.
- Fans are constantly whirring, and the laptop is noisy — likely overheating.
We’ll investigate the potential causes in the next section.
Why is My HP Laptop So Slow
We got the basics out of the way. Now, we can identify what’s slowing down your HP laptop.
Your hardware might be faulty or underperforming
It’s always a good idea to rule out hardware issues before considering software or user habits. Thankfully, HP makes it incredibly easy to diagnose hardware. All you need is the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics tool.
Your HP laptop probably has it pre-installed. You can download it from hp.com if you don’t have it on your laptop.
Type “HP PC Hardware Diagnostics tool” in the search bar.
Run it as administrator by right-clicking on the icon.
Here, you can run two hardware checks.
Hardware Check #1
- Click the System Tests button on the main menu for a quick scan.
- Wait until the tests finish.
- Take note of any failures.
Hardware Check #2
If your laptop passed the fast scan,
- Click the Component Tests button to run a deep scan.
- Take note of any failures.
The HP PC Hardware Diagnostics tool tests all primary components. So if anything is out of the ordinary — a defective RAM or slow HDD — the tool will alert you immediately.
Your Laptop Has Outdated or Infected Software
The second most common reason for an HP laptop running slow is corrupted or outdated software.
Most viruses and malware don’t slow computers by design. But they do hog a lot of resources, which strains the system. They take up RAM, CPU, GPU, and even storage. Sometimes, they corrupt legit programs and crash them. Some even connect to the internet and consume your bandwidth.
We’ll talk more about detecting and cleaning malware in the later sections.
HP regularly releases driver updates for its hardware components. These updates keep the hardware compatible with Windows updates. Driver compatibility issues can lead to crashes, blue screens, and laggy performance.
Outdated drivers can cause system-wide slowdowns. Updated drivers provide optimum performance.
Luckily, HP makes it easy to get the latest drivers for your HP laptop.
You Have Too Many Programs Running
This is where certain user habits can slow down a laptop.
To give you an idea, think of Google Chrome. The browser is notorious for hogging resources. And every new tab and extension takes a toll on performance. Too many extensions, especially intensive ones like Grammarly, can seriously hurt your system’s performance.
The same goes for the hundreds of services running in the background. They must be loaded onto memory on boot, so your laptop runs much slower.
Other heavy-hitter programs similarly bog down your laptop — think video editing suites, 3D software, high-end games, etc.
You’re Low on Storage
When your laptop’s storage is almost used up, reading and writing data on it takes much longer. It’s like finding an empty slot in a nearly full parking lot. The closer you get to the storage limit, the slower your laptop will feel. The slowdown happens for three reasons:
It takes longer to retrieve and save files when storage space is tight, causing lag and delays.
Files get fragmented. Your HP laptop (older models in particular) doesn’t save a file in ONE big chunk. No, it breaks it up into tiny pieces. When you have enough storage, those pieces are stored closer together. But as it fills up, the fragments get scattered all over, and it takes longer to retrieve them.
Background processes need storage, too. Updates, indexing, and other background services can’t operate properly on low storage. It slows down the whole user experience.
Your Laptop is Overheating
Overheating leads to more overheating as the thermal paste on the CPU degrades
Performance drops because of overheating have everything to do with “thermal throttling.” Your laptop can sense when it’s overheating and (to protect the hardware) slows down the CPU. With a slower CPU, everything runs slower.
Overheating damages the laptop’s battery, disk, and even the RAM in the long term.
And it’s a cascading process. Overheating leads to more overheating as the thermal paste on the CPU degrades. Clogged vents or dirty fans can also overheat your laptop.
How to Make an HP Laptop Faster
Lucky for us, most of the issues we’ve discussed have quick and easy fixes. If you try them all, you should immediately notice a performance bump.
Run HP Performance Tune Check
The easiest and simplest way to improve performance is through HP’s official Performance Tune Check tool.
It automatically clears junk files, adjusts memory usage, lowers internal heat, and optimizes processes.
- The Performance Tune-up Check tool is built into the HP Support Assistant app. You can install it from the HP Support Assistant website if you don’t find it in the search bar.
- On the HP Support Assistant Dashboard, click Optimize your Performance.
- Read the information and click Next on the Welcome window.
- Select the following Additional options: Enable Storage Sense and Empty Recycle Bin.
- Click Optimize.
- Wait until the optimization hits 100%.
You can also clean your browser’s history and data by selecting the relevant option.
Our dedicated guide on speeding up Windows laptops goes into greater depth. But you can dramatically speed up your HP laptop with just a few quick wins.
Reboot your laptop
Turning it on and off might seem ridiculously simple at first. But rebooting is the first thing you should try if your laptop is always either running or in sleep mode.
Rebooting clears the RAM, shuts down stuck processes, and allows downloaded updates to install. Unless your laptop is suffering from another issue, rebooting it should make it speedier and more responsive right away.
Uninstall programs and extensions
Next, you’ll review installed apps and extensions and remove the ones you don’t strictly need.
To review the apps,
- Open the Control Panel from the search bar.
- Click the Uninstall a Program under the Programs category.
- Select a program you want to remove.
- Click Uninstall on the top.
- Repeat for other apps.
To review extensions,
- Open your browser.
- Click Adds-ons or Extensions from the menu. Alternatively, find the shortcut next to the URL bar.
- Click the toggle to turn off an extension or Remove to uninstall it.
Reboot when you’re done to clear any temporary junk files. Your laptop should feel faster right away.
Disable Startup Apps
On every boot, your computer loads a lot of services and apps onto the RAM. You’ll typically find them running in the taskbar already.
More startup apps mean your laptop will take much longer to boot up. And when they’re running in the background, they also take up resources.
- Right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager. Or, find Task Manager in the search box.
- When the Task Manager opens, select the Startup tab.
- Select apps you don’t need and Disable them.
In the Startup tab, you’ll also find each app’s startup impact and the last BIOS time.
Cleaning the vents can help with overheating problems. Grab lint-free cloth, a soft brush, and a can of compressed air.
- Start by locating the vents on your laptop.
- Hold the can upright and blow the air into the vents to push out the dust
- Brush away any remaining debris with a lint-free cloth.
Free Up Storage Disk
The most straightforward way to free up storage is to find and delete large files you no longer need. But if there’s no storage to spare, we can get creative too.
Windows has a special tool for clearing up storage: the Disk Cleanup utility. It deletes temporary junk files and system files.
- Open Disk Cleanup from the search box.
- Select your chosen drive.
- Select OK.
To get rid of system files and free up even more storage,
- Open Disk Cleanup from the search box.
- Select Clean up system files.
- Select your preferred file type to remove.
Also, the good news is, if you uninstalled bloatware and unnecessary programs, it should’ve already freed up plenty of space.
Still running low on storage? Consider moving your files to the cloud or a removable drive.
Run a Virus Scan
Beyond just a privacy and security risk, an infected machine is also frustratingly slow.
The simplest solution is running an antivirus scan. Windows 10 and Windows 11 feature a built-in antivirus, Windows Security.
You can choose from different scan types:
- A quick scan only takes minutes and looks for viruses where they’re most likely found.
- A full scan is a deep scan that checks every single file and program on your system. But it can take hours to complete.
- Offline scan is for removing particularly stubborn malware.
To get started,
- Type in “Windows security” in the search box.
- In the Virus & Threat Protection tab, click Quick Scan.
- Remove or quarantine any threats.
Now click Scan options.
- Select Full Scan.
- Click Scan Now.
- Wait an hour or more for it to complete.
Update your laptop
Keeping your HP laptop up-to-date keeps it optimized and safe.
Head over to the HP Support website to download the latest drivers for your laptop. It will ask for your serial number. Alternatively, you can use the product detection tool to detect your laptop model automatically. From there, installing the recommended updates is easy.
You can also use Windows Update to get the latest drivers for your device.
- Type “check for updates” in the search box.
- Click Check for Updates.
Windows will automatically find and install your drivers.
Upgrade or replace hardware
Remember we ran a scan with the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics tool? It’ll help us with hardware-related lag. The scan should reveal any failing or underperforming components.
Please take note of the faulty component and replace or upgrade it.
The hard drive is the most common culprit. Your laptop has one of two storage types — SSD or HDD. But to give you an idea:
SSD or solid-state drive is fast, really fast. But it gets expensive if you want to store a lot of data on them. HDD or hard disk drive has a spinning disk that can keep a LOT of data for cheap. But they’re much slower and degrade much faster.
If the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics points to your HDD, it might be time to upgrade it to an SSD. The swap should instantly speed up your laptop. It is a must if you want to use your HP for gaming.
If the diagnostics suggest an issue with insufficient RAM, we recommend adding extra RAM to improve performance. You can contact HP support for these upgrades.
FAQs for Slow HP Laptop
How to make an HP laptop faster?
HP Performance Tune-up Check tool instantly optimizes performance by removing junk files, adjusting memory, and reducing heat. You can also free up storage, uninstall programs, and update Windows to make your HP laptop faster.
Why is my HP laptop frozen?
Application overload, corrupted system files or drivers, hardware problems, and malware commonly cause a laptop to freeze.
What are common HP laptop repair solutions for slow performance?
Replacing HDD with SSD, upgrading RAM, and cleaning the internals for better thermal management are the common repair solutions for slow performance.
Few things are more frustrating than a laptop that freezes and lags with every click. But you don’t need to send it in for repairs or buy a new one just yet.
You can restore your laptop’s smooth performance with some investigative work and a few easy-to-follow tweaks. Check out our tips and tricks page for more.