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My brother-in-law has a cheap HP laptop used by his kids for schoolwork.

It had got into a bit of a state and was running slowly with some dubious software. I removed a bunch of stuff that had been installed, that was obviously not required (three different driver scanners!), had been downloaded in error or looked like malware.

I also disabled as many 'start on login' apps as I could and removed AVG replacing it with MSE. (AVG is uninstalled and replaced with MSE after failing to detect malware)

What remains is a significant quantity of bundled HP and 'nero backup' software, including a HP restore utility (apparently something like the osx hidden partition restore), the trackpad driver.

is there anything else I can do to breath a little more life into the old 'celeron' laptop?

Should I bit the bullet and just put win8 on it? Will the trackpad still work?

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Lots of similar questions have been answered here. Before you can get a good answer, what do you currently have? What make/model laptop? What OS? If you go into Windows Experience Index, what is your bottleneck? What amount of RAM? What kind of hard drive? –  Blackbeagle Oct 21 '13 at 9:24
    
can you provide some example questions with similar advice - a search didn't provide the general answers I was after. –  spdegabrielle Oct 31 '13 at 13:47
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Probably the best thing you can do is to backup all the personal data in the laptop and to perform a complete format of the hard drive and reinstall Windows (probably Windows 7, or even XP because it needs less memory).

By doing that, you'll be removing all the existing software, including all the annoying HP pre-installed programs... Once you have reinstalled the SO, install only those applications you really need, and probably try to perform a disk defragmentation. I know is a radical solution, but it's definitely what I'd do...

Otherwise you can try to install an application such as CCleaner and try to unnistall manually all the unnecesary software, perform a registry cleaning and a disk defragmentation... but this is only a patch and not the proper solution...

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Thanks, but I'm left wondering if the trackpad will still work. –  spdegabrielle Oct 31 '13 at 13:48
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