The most common reason for laptops under performing to be running slowly in the computer hardware realm is simply a lack of having a sufficient amount of memory, especially in these days of resource intensive operating systems. Memory is RAM (Random Access Memory) and it is not hard drive space which is a common misconception among many computer users.
Hard drive space is permanent storage while memory is temporary storage, aka volatile storage. Data permanently stored on the hard drive is for example your pictures, your Word documents, your spreadsheet files, and things of this nature. The data stored in memory is the computer programs themselves for example, and they only need to be there when they are actually running. Once you turn off or reboot your laptop everything in memory is removed hence the term temporary storage.
Windows 7 and Vista laptops by design are in a much more resource intensive operating system environment than previous Microsoft operating systems such as the preferred Windows XP. The additional features, especially the graphic enhancements commonly referred to as eye candy require your computer system to meet additional system requirements meaning the hardware within your laptop such as memory and the processor.
One of the main points to be sure you cover is to have at least 1GB of RAM (system memory) installed in your laptop if you plan on running Windows Vista or later on it. This operating system will run on 512MB of memory as is stated in Microsoft’s recommended requirements which is different than the minimum requirements to actually install.
However laptops with Vista and only 1GB of RAM which is double the recommended requirements is going to handle not much more than very basic computing duties such as email, web surfing, basic office apps, etc. After this you will notice a very prominent reduction in overall responsiveness of your laptop computer, especially with any multitasking going on.
When you compare this to Widows XP which has a recommended requirement of 128MB of memory and a minimum requirement of 64MB, you should use the rule of thumb that in order to do the very basic computing duties you should have at least 512MB of memory.
Most refurbished laptops under 200 dollars for example have a decent amount of memory in them already as it is becoming rarer these days that there is an insufficient amount of memory in a laptop. As a matter of fact memory has become so inexpensive that people occasionally buy more than they actually need for what they do with their laptop computer.
Just because you can get an operating system installed and running on the minimum system requirements or the recommended system requirements does not mean that your laptop will be much fun using. The purpose of these requirements is to let the user know what the basic starting point is and certainly does not address overall performance.
We have seen many laptops under performing running Vista on only 512MB of RAM and the user suffers through such a slow and non-responsive computing experience. This does not have to be this way we will always inform them. A simple RAM upgrade will improve the speed and responsiveness of the newest cheap models as well as the laptops under 300 dollars making life much less frustrating.
For example running Windows XP on a laptop with only 128MB of memory which is the recommended system requirements will be a painfully slow computing experience and to run it on the minimum system requirements will basically be unbearably slow.