quick (2 hour) maintenance on a laptop..

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my friend wants to drop off his laptop for a couple of hours this evening before picking it up and tomorrow early morning he takes it to his business meeting across the country. his concern is his poor performing laptop will show up in the meetings..

what are the basic maintenance you can and should do in a couple of hours, in a poorly maintained system.
(this user has not done any backups and has installed lot of older software's that are not being used now etc). I did ask and he is running a free AV.

after he comes back to town in a few days, i will suggest to him bigger tasks like backups etc. can you also list what will be the other BIGger tasks that he should focus when he has the time.
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I would run Malwarebytes and SFC /scannow.
Perhaps even chkdsk /f
In a pinch CC cleaner is fairly safe for removing un-needed files and and registry settings.
Re-imaging takes time, but is probably the ultimate fix.
Jeff RodgersNetworks & Communications Systems Manager
Given the limited time available... 2 hours?  :P

1.  Cleanup!  by Steven Gould does a fairly good job for a donation ware type product at removing junk
2.  Command line defrag.
3.  Malware Bytes and remove any spyware.
4.  Run as many updates as possible.

With only 2 hours available... your best bet is to decrap it, defrag it and update it.

Good luck!
Distinguished Expert 2018
Add to above - adwcleaner - I tend to do that as first task.
CCleaner (you can check with CCleaner startup and scheduled tasks) and disk cleanup.
Also free antivirus -- uninstall and install antivirus again, Avast, Avira and AVG have tendency to slow down after a few updates (that would be 1.5 - 2 hours).
Defrag you can postpone - he can do that when you finish real job - just put shortcut on desktop. :)
Forget about updates it takes too much time.
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noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Uninstall the apps you do not use, perform AV scan and defrag the drive. All you can do.
And delete some unwanted pics and videos if any do exist :)
CCleaner is a good candidate - just be careful not to include Office apps or he will lose his recents.  Another good boost is to set a windows 7 machine (win7 or xp?) to use the windows basic theme instead of the aero themes.  Also check in advanced computer settings that it is set for best performance.  Note that backup is an essential.  How much used disk space does he have?  If it is not too much you can run DriveImageXML (free for home use) in enough time, but 2 hours will require that there be less than 160gb or so used.
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Since he doesn't have a backup, do that first. There's no point in trying to fix anything before there is a backup. After that use msconfig to disable software that isn't needed at bootup. That will be about what can be done in 2 hours.
You do need the backup, but if he has too much stuff on there it may not finish in time.  It also depends on what type of USB connection he has. Is it at least USB 2.0?  How old is this laptop (that will tell you the USB version)?  

A laptop older than a few years and he might as well buy a new one.  I just saw a decent one for 499.99 (not one I would buy, but good enough for most).  That is another question, what are primary uses for this machine?  If he is one of those people who only use it for MS Office (or the equivalent) and internet, than a new laptop with 4-8gb of RAM, 256gb SSD, i5 chipset, will probably do fine. If money is an issue, trade out the SSD for a 750gb-1tb drive (you can get a SSHD 1TB drive for less than a 256GB SSD.
Most Valuable Expert 2015
He could remove the disk from the laptop and connect it internally to a PC for the backup if he doesn't have USB 3 ports. That way it will be much faster. On most laptops disks can easily be removed. Besides that, depending on the covers you can remove from the laptop, it may then be easier to clean out all the dust while the backup is running.
Depends on equipment he has?  And the laptop. Several years ago I started getting laptops to fix that had soldered drives.  Also depends on backup sw.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.
I'll second the Adware Cleaner suggested earlier.

That'll indicate any installed malware and give you an idea if there is anything bad on the system.  Doesn't require installing, just a simple executable.

Run it as a first task.

No defragging, that'll take too long.

CCleaner, yes.  That'll clean out a lot of junk.
Top Expert 2013
look also in Programs and features, and uninstall all software that is not needed / unwanted - or simply crapware

but for a good job, 2 Hrs is simply not enough...


good helpful list.. will refer when I get it back for the lengthier processes...
thank you experts-

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