New laptop PC slow as heck!
July 19, 2011 7:32 AM   Subscribe

What would cause the laptop to be so slow right out of the box? I was given a "new" computer at work. It is a HP Business Notebook PC with the product model = Compaq 8510p. It is so slow opening and closing windows, launching programs and starting up and shutting down--then sometimes freezes up. It is 3 years old and the warranty has expired as I was told by the HP helpdesk. I have searched the web and asked a few IT friends what the heck it could be since it has never been used. My boss doesn't want to hear any complaints about it since it's new out of the box--he figures it should be working perfectly. Should I take it to a PC shop to get it optimized or diagnosed in some way? It's driving me crazy! What could be causing this?
posted by sandra194 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My work laptop can be hideously slow at boot up, too, and my machine is only about 2 years old. The problem with mine is that the IT Department uses whole-disk encryption on our hard drives for security purposes and a very memory-hungry Enterprise-grade virus and monitoring program to keep the laptop safe and our activities monitored. These two things slow my machine down considerably.

Could this be the case with your machine as well? If so, there's probably not much you can do as it is probably required by corporate policy (as with mine), so the best you can do is grin and bear it in that case.
posted by jspierre at 7:37 AM on July 19, 2011

I work for a very small company--we don't have IT department or support.

BTW I am running Windows XP and I'd like to install Vista but I'm very afraid.
posted by sandra194 at 7:44 AM on July 19, 2011

Does your colleague also use AskMeFi?

Try these:

* Check how much free ram you have (add more ram)
* Stop unnecessary services
* Ask your IT department to reinstall it.
posted by devnull at 7:45 AM on July 19, 2011

Ask a colleague to swap laptops with you for a couple of hours to see if it's a personal problem or the general standard. If you can show your boss that your IT is sub-standard and affecting your performance, he may be more interested in supporting your cause.
posted by londonmark at 7:46 AM on July 19, 2011

It could be "new and out of the box" and not have enough RAM. (Though that model appears to be stock with 1gb. Which is really not a lot. (Compaq 8510p maxes out at 4gb. That would help right off.)

What operating system? XP? Vista? That's significant. If you don't know, right-click on My Computer (or Computer) and go to Properties. It will come right up.

The other thing is what is starting up at boot. The way to adjust that is simple enough. Go to Start in bottom-left. Go to Run and type in msconfig. Here's how to do it in XP. Here's how to do it in Vista. Then under startup review what is coming on at the beginning. The basic stuff is what you need. (Startup Item may not tell you enough, Command is where it is outlined what is actually starting up) Be careful here there are but if you check something you want to start, just reverse the process later.

Another culprit may very well be your antivirus. Norton or McAfee "out of the box" of a three-year old laptop may be machine killers. I get rid of them using Revo Uninstaller. Replace with Microsoft Security Essentials, which is light on a system's load but about as good as any other anti-virus.*

*HOWEVER as this is a work computer and you may be networking etc check with IT on this.

Lastly, using Revo Uninstaller, get rid of HP/Compaq's "bloatware".

Bump up the RAM, use the above, and unless the machine is a lemon (it happens), you will be enjoying a stronger, faster, better machine.
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:54 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Why would you want to put Vista on it and not Windows 7?

You don't have anyone in your company that handles IT? Nobody that would have put some sort of excessive security software on it?
posted by Silvertree at 7:55 AM on July 19, 2011

BTW I am running Windows XP and I'd like to install Vista

Above all else, do NOT do this.

Vista is a scourge upon the earth. XP runs fine and well (respective to Vista, that's for sure). If you have to upgrade do a complete fresh install of Windows 7 after bumping up the RAM to the machine's full 4GB maximum.

I am writing this on an XP machine which I have used for years but Windows 7 is a joy.
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:57 AM on July 19, 2011

New out of the box?

A few things to check:

1. Visit and do all the updates. Make you you are on Service pack 3 for XP.

2. Are you running an antivirus? Those HP machines often come with a trial verion of Mcafee or some other garbage. Uninstall it. Install Microsoft's Security Essentials for Free.

3. Do a malware scan with security essentials once its installed.

4. Run the HP updater utility, it should be preinstalled. It will find driver and BIOS updates. Install them if it finds them.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:06 AM on July 19, 2011

I haven't tried Soluto, but Lifehacker seems to like it. Soluto's supposed to help you understand what's slowing down your computer and how to fix it.
posted by golden at 8:40 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have tried Soluto, and I do like it. It compiles a list of all the programs are loading during your boot, and gauges whether they are things you can take out of the boot. You also don't have to muck around with the MSCONFIG window -- when you get the Soluto report on your boot programs, just click on the things you want taken out of the boot and it does it for you.

And you don't have to worry about accidentally deleting or screwing up something you didn't know was vital either -- Soluto's reports break things down into three categories: things you have to leave in your boot, things that are "no brainers" when it comes to taking them out of your boot, and things that you may or may not want to keep in your boot depending on how you use your system. For this last category, it also suggests which option to take ("if you do a lot of graphics, keep it in boot; if not, take it out.")

Also, for a freeware program, the tech support is pretty good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Install Microsoft's Security Essentials for Free.

MS Security Essentials is only free for home users.

That's an older laptop, though -- from what I can tell it has a Core 2 Duo T7700 CPU, which is five years old, not three. Reviews on the Web for the Compaq 8510p are all from 2007 too. I'd expect a five-year-old laptop to be a little pokey.
posted by mendel at 11:09 AM on July 19, 2011

Wow you guys are the best! Thanks so much. I have uninstalled Norton and installed MSE. Also did some updating and cleaning up with Revo uninstaller. I do want to get more memory though.

Thanks bunches!
posted by sandra194 at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2011

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