A slow laptop can be the result of overburdening the system's capabilities. It can also be the result of dust and debris getting inside the vents or the system overheating. Laptops are typically less powerful than desktops, and they are vulnerable to overheating because of the compact layout of the internal components.

If someone tries to open too many programs at once, or has otherwise overburdened system resources, the laptop can't keep up with the demands. A laptop with 2GB of RAM is not able to handle many programs aside from the operating system itself on its built-in RAM, causing the laptop to require virtual memory from hard drive storage. Always check the laptop's processor speed and amount of RAM first. Then, run disk-defragmentation programs and malware checks,

Physically cleaning the laptop is vital, as is allowing proper ventilation. Many laptops have vents on the bottom. Positioning the laptop on a soft surface with a lot of give like a bed doesn't allow the heat to disperse. The same problem can occur if fans and vents get clogged up. The system thermometer will detect excess heat and throttle the processor and laptop to keep it from overheating. By using a can of compressed air to clear the vents and elevating the laptop or using a cooling pad, the laptop can be kept cool.