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HP PCs - Computer Is Slow (Windows 8)

This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8.
Go to the HP Guided Troubleshooting Solution to resolve problems related to your computer's performance, OR follow the steps below.
Use this document to help make Windows and other software perform better. The information below provides ways to improve system performance by making more resources available.
Common causes of slow system performance:
  • Temporary files, cookies, un-cleared Recycle Bin that cause less disk space
  • No free disk space or disk errors
  • Applications that require more system resources
  • Too many tasks running at the same time
  • Nonessential graphic features
  • Not enough memory
  • Overheating due to intensive graphic applications or dust in vent
  • Running anti-virus scan, while other software or applications also run in the background
 note:
HP SmartFriend is a support service that can help you troubleshoot slow performance and improve the speed of your computer (only available in the United States and Canada). For more information, see HP SmartFriend (in English).
Video overview
Use HP Support Assistant to keep your computer running smoothly
HP recommends using HP Support Assistant on a regularly scheduled basis. If HP Support Assistant is not installed on your computer or you are not sure that you are using the latest version, download the current version of HP Support Assistant from the HP website.
 note:
If your computer does not support HP Support Assistant, skip to the next section for steps that do not involve HP Support Assistant.
Use the following steps to check for HP updates:
  1. In Windows, search for and open HP Support Assistant.
  2. Click My devices on the top of the HP Support Assistant window, then click Updates in the My PC box.
    Figure : Updates in the My PC box
    Updates selected
    The Updates window opens.
  3. If HP Support Assistant detects updates, the updates display in the Updates available window.
    Figure : Updates window
     Updates window
  4. To check for recent updates, click Check for updates and messages.
    HP Support Assistant connects to the HP servers and performs the following actions:
    • Downloads messages and updates
    • Gathers configuration information
    • Analyzes your computer system
    • Prepares an action list
    If HP Support Assistant finds updates, they display in the Updates available window.
    Figure : Updates available window
    Updates available window
    • To postpone or delete a current update, use the following steps.
      1. Next to the message you want to postpone, click Remind me.
      2. Select Tomorrow, One week, or One month, depending on when you want to be reminded.
    • To delete an update, click next to the update.
    • To install the update now, click the Install now icon () next to the update.
    • To review completed and postponed actions, scroll to the Action log section.
Perform system cleanup without using HP Support Assistant
A computer's hard disk drive can have a major effect on system performance. Over time the hard drive can become cluttered with unwanted or temporary files, the data can become fragmented and stored in an inefficient manner, or there may be disk errors on the drive itself. All of these issues can impact system performance, and all are easy to maintain. This section describes methods to maintain hard drive performance through removing unwanted and temporary files, checking the hard drive for errors, and defragmenting the drive.
Perform critical Windows updates
Software and drivers that are out of date can decrease system performance. To use Windows Update to install critical software and driver updates, follow the steps in the HP support document: HP PCs - Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update (Windows 8).
Remove viruses and spyware
If the computer is performing slowly after connecting to the Internet, adware or spyware might be installed. Spyware and adware use the Internet to download and upload data in the background. Some of this data might be sensitive information or unwanted advertising. Removing these viruses will improve the performance of your system.
 note:
Your computer might have come with a free trial version of McAfee. If the trial period has ended, your computer might be unprotected. Either choose a new antivirus and uninstall McAfee, or you can activate the full version of McAfee. The computer should only have one antivirus installed at a time. Uninstall one before installing the other.
Scan for viruses and spyware using antivirus or anti-spyware security software. Remove any viruses and spyware found. For more information, see the HP support document HP PCs - Computer Might Be Infected by a Virus or Malware (Windows 10, 8).
Remove any viruses using Microsoft Defender. For more information, see the HP support document Using Windows Defender to Prevent Virus and Spyware Problems (Windows 8).
Manage applications to recover from slow system performance
If too many apps or programs are running in the background, system performance can be affected. This section describes different ways to manage which applications or programs are running in the background.
Prevent memory allocation problems
Allocated memory space from software applications that are no longer open can cause problems. Over time, this unused memory space can build up, causing Windows to slow down and use the hard drive more. These memory leaks are causing the system to slow down if the computer runs well when first turned on, but performs noticeably slower after several programs are opened and closed.
Memory leaks can happen when software is closed before it has fully opened. Always allow apps time to fully open before closing them. As a rule, wait five seconds after an app opens before closing it again, even if the app was opened unintentionally.
On rare occasions, an incompatible app might continue to allocate memory while it is running, causing the system to slow down and eventually lock up.
To immediately fix memory leaks, restart the computer. For a permanent fix, isolate software applications that might be causing the leaks by using the following steps:
 note:
For information on your computer’s memory requirements, please see the specifications document for your computer model.
  1. Restart the computer.
  2. From the Start screen, type task manager to open the Search charm, and then select Task Manager from the search results.
    Figure : Task Manager
    The search for Task Manager
    Task Manager opens.
  3. At the bottom of the Task Manager window, click More details.
    Figure : Task Manager
    Task Manager window with the More details button highlighted
  4. Click the Performance tab, and then click Memory to view the amount of available physical memory.
    Figure : Performance tab in Task Manager
    Performance tab in Task Manager
  5. Click Open Resource Monitor to view how your computer is using the memory.
    Figure : Open Resource Monitor
    Open Resource Monitor
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  6. In the Overview tab, click the arrow to expand the Memory section, and then scroll down to view which apps are using memory.
    Figure : Resource Monitor
     Resource Monitor showing memory selection
  7. Open an app suspected of causing the computer to run more slowly.
  8. Check the percentage of Used Physical Memory, and then write it down.
  9. Close and reopen a suspected app repeatedly, and then check the percentage of Used Physical Memory, comparing this number to the one recorded. Each time, wait about 10 seconds before opening the app again.
    • If the percentage of Used Physical Memory continues to increase, there is a memory leak. Contact the software manufacturer for available patches or fixes.
    • If the Used Physical Memory percentage returns to the same numbers or similar each time, the suspected app is probably not creating a memory leak.
Turn off nonessential graphical features to improve system performance
Graphical features and applications can use a lot of system resources and slow performance. Turning off these features can improve system performance. This section explains how to adjust visual effects for best performance.
Follow these steps to adjust visual effects, such as menu and window graphics, to optimize performance:
  1. From the Start screen, type file explorer to open the Search charm, and then select File Explorer from the search results.
    Figure : Searching for File Explorer
    The search field for File Explorer
  2. Click the Computer tab, and then click Properties.
    Figure : Computer Properties
    Computer tab with Properties selected
  3. From the tasks pane on the left, click Advanced system settings.
    Figure : Advanced system settings
    Advanced system settings
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    The System Properties window opens with the Advanced tab selected.
  4. Under Performance, click Settings.
    Figure : Advanced system settings
    System Properties, Advanced tab with Settings selected
    The Performance Options window opens.
  5. Click the Visual Effects tab.
  6. Select Adjust for best performance, and then click OK.
    Figure : Adjust for best performance
    Performance Options window with Adjust for best performance selected
Reduce heat inside the computer to prevent overheating
Heat buildup can cause problems for any computer. Generally, when temperatures inside the case rise above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the risk of damaging important internal components increases greatly. The most common cause of overheating is the accumulation of dust inside the computer. The electrical components in a computer generate heat and fans inside the computer help move the air to keep the components cooled to normal operating temperatures. Inadequate cooling can cause excess heat to build up inside the case which can damage components. The sound of the fan running constantly may indicate that the computer is not running as efficiently as possible and that there is a problem with accumulated dust clogging the air vents.
Adjust system restore settings
System Restore is a feature of Windows that can revert system software and settings back to a particular date. System Restore does this by saving the changes made to system files in a restore point. System Restore uses up to four percent of the hard drive with restore points if left unadjusted, regardless of the size of the hard drive.
 caution:
If you are experiencing system problems and may need to restore your computer to an earlier time, DO NOT remove the restore points.
 caution:
Selecting Turn off system protection will prevent the system from creating future restore points. You cannot restore the hard drive without restore points.
Use the following steps to reduce the space System Restore uses for restore points:
  1. From the Start screen, type file explorer to open the Search charm, and then select File Explorer from the search results.
    Figure : Searching for File Explorer
    The search field for File Explorer
  2. Click the Computer tab, and then click Properties.
    Figure : Computer Properties
    Computer tab with Properties selected
  3. From the tasks pane on the left, click System protection.
    Figure : System protection
    System protection
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    The System Properties window opens with the System Protection tab selected.
  4. Click Configure.
    Figure : Configure System Protection Settings
    System Protection tab in System Properties
  5. Reduce the amount of hard drive space the system reserves for system restores by sliding the Max Usage: slider bar to 2%. You can choose a higher or lower percentage depending on how many restore points you want and the capacity of your hard drive.
    Figure : Max Usage
    Max Usage slider in System Protection
  6. Click OK.
Test the hard drive
HP provides diagnostic software that you can use to test hardware components on your computer. Using this test you can confirm hardware failures when you suspect something is wrong. Please see HP support document Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 10, 8) and see the section Testing using HP PC Hardware Diagnostics (UEFI).
Upgrade memory
Upgrading memory can improve system performance. You can upgrade random-access memory (RAM) on most HP and Compaq notebook computers. Refer to the manual of your computer model to find out if your RAM can be upgraded.
For step-by-step instructions on upgrading RAM, see the help document HP Notebook PCs - Upgrading Memory (RAM) or HP Desktop PCs - Upgrading Memory (RAM).
Perform an HP System Recovery
If the above steps did not improve the slow system performance issues on your computer, reinstall the operating system to factory settings. See Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows 8) for instructions.
Recommended maintenance schedule
To free resources and keep the computer running correctly, follow a maintenance schedule as listed below.
Recommended maintenance schedule
Daily tasks
Weekly tasks
Monthly tasks
Quarterly tasks
Manage e-mail
  • Delete e-mail from unknown sources.
  • Do not open attachments that you do not trust.
  • Organize e-mail.
Protect against viruses, adware, and spyware
Use Windows Update or HP Support Assistant
See the instructions for Support Assistant.
Set new passwords
Optimize system performance
Review the Start menu
Set the Start menu to open only needed applications.
Clean the computer, monitor, keyboard, and mouse
For more information on cleaning your desktop PC correctly, refer to the support document Cleaning Your Desktop PC.
For more information on cleaning your notebook PC correctly, refer to the support document Cleaning Your Notebook PC.
Clean up Web browser files
  • Delete cookies.
  • Delete cache.
  • Delete history files.
Clean up the desktop
Delete or remove unneeded icons and software applications.

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