Very Slow Laptop Problems: Common Causes and Solutions

by Rod Dunne on February 22, 2011

in Performance

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Very slow laptop performance can be a direct result of some severe issues. In this post I’ll show you some of the common causes I’ve identified over years fixing computers with performance issues.


A single malware application or Trojan virus can easily damaged operating system programs and registry file leading to performance issues and exceptions. Scan the entire hard drive as well as external storage devices using up to date software.

Too many programs initialized at startup

Windows XP slow startup performance is often due to too many applications and services being initialized as the operating system is booting up. Use the Microsoft System Configuration tool (startup tab) to de-select programs you no longer require starting as the system boots. [Go to the start menu, run program, enter msconfig].

Lack of disk space

The Windows operating system uses empty space on the disk for virtual memory. If this falls below 4% of total disk space the performance degrades rapidly. Maintain at least 10% your hard drive empty to avoid slow laptop performance by removing temporary files, getting rid of old applications and transferring big files onto external storage.

Poor file access performance

The main reason why specific files will be slow to load in the system is file fragmentation. Files are stored as numerous fragments dispersed around the disk which is slower to access. Use a disk defragmenter (such as Windows own tool) on a monthly basis to reorder the fragments and speed up file access times.

Too many programs running at once

Slow laptop speeds are often due to overuse of your RAM and CPU. They can only support running a specific amount of applications, some of which may be using too much RAM memory. Use the Task Manager (processes tab) to identify programs using a lot of memory and disable them/update them/remove them.

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