Once upon a time there was a laptop that ran slow. The story amongst those who dealt with the machine was that it must be the anti-virus software. This is often the case by the way. Anti Virus software is installed. Computer slows down.
When you see the processors pegged, often we look at software or viruses as the cause. Well, in this case not the case. This was an HP Laptop which ran very slow. So slow that it took about 5 minutes to log in, and then another 5 to really settle down and let you do something. Even then, if you looked at Task Manager, both processors were running at more than 80%!!!!
I had uninstalled the AV software. Cleaned 3 viruses. Fixed a host of bad reg entries and disabled all start up processes. Still bad laptop.
After doing a little digging, I found s couple of other people out there complaining abut HP/Compaq laptops gone bad like this when their AC adapters go bad. I unplugged the AC adapter and the processors just dropped to 0!. I found another one from another identical model and it still worked ok. I plugged in the old one, and voila instant slooooooow.
So if you are pulling your hair with slow HP laptops after verifying that there is nothing else wrong, pull the plug!