How to make your HP laptop run faster than ever

Don't be limited by Windows 10's default power settings.

Credit: Reviewed / Whitson Gordon

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When most people use a laptop, they tend to think of it like a car: you buy a sports car if you need it to go fast, a minivan if you need lots of storage, and when you press the gas pedal you expect the car to drive forward. If you want to go faster, you add more horsepower.

Laptops don’t work like that. Many times laptop manufacturers purposely set laptops to run slightly slower in order to preserve battery life and keep the laptop from overheating. As the laptop has to do more intensive tasks, the processor gives off heat, and if that process gets out of control, the laptop will shut down to protect itself.

While this is important for keeping your laptop working in the long-term, you may prefer to let your laptop loose so it can run at its peak speed—especially if you’re not worried about running through your battery life.

HP Command Performance Mode
Credit: / TJ Donegan

Changing the mode to "Performance" in HP Command Center opens up the throttle, letting your new laptop perform its best.

How to get around Windows Battery Settings

All Windows laptops have this option as part of the “battery settings” in the taskbar, the slider that lets you choose between the best battery life, balanced, or best performance. In short, it controls the max power output of the laptop’s processors, since running them at a higher speed will use more watt-hours and eat through the battery faster. However, even on “best performance,” your computer may not let you run the processors at their peak speeds in order to keep them from overheating.

How to use HP Command Center to get even more performance

On HP laptops, there’s another trick to know about, however: the HP Command Center program. HP Command Center is present on nearly every HP laptop we’ve tested recently. Though its design and options change slightly from machine to machine, in every case we’ve seen it provides you the option to pick a battery or thermal profile called “Performance” that will actually let you go above and beyond what the “best performance” option can do.

Our testing proves this out. In the Geekbench 5 benchmark, which tests both the laptop’s single core performance and multi-core performance (basically its ability to do one thing quickly or many things simultaneously), you get way better results.

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This is especially true of the newer, high-performance laptops that we’ve reviewed recently, not just a laptop that’s a few years old. For example, the 14-inch HP Spectre that we just reviewed can achieve very respectable scores of 1486 single-core and 4329 multi-core with the Windows battery settings slider at “best performance.”

With the HP Command Center enabled into “Performance” mode, those results shoot up to 1508 single-core and 5162 multi-core, a massive improvement that makes it one of the fastest laptops we’ve tested all year.

Geekbench 5 results
Credit: / TJ Donegan

By default, the HP Command center limits your laptops performance in order to save battery life.

There are some downsides to pushing your PC

There are some downsides to this tool, of course. The most obvious is it will run the battery down faster—on some laptops the performance mode actually disengages when it’s not plugged in—and we’ve also seen the laptop itself get a bit warmer, causing the fans to run more aggressively.

However, HP Command Center will never overclock the processors without explicitly enabling it in the overclock menu. While overclocking a processor can net notable performance gains, this pushes the components past the limits they were designed for and can potentially shorten their lifespan. We generally don’t recommend overclocking laptops because they don’t have the space to offer an effective cooling solution to compensate for the extra heat generated by the processors.

“Performance mode” in HP Command Center only boosts the performance to its max rated speed, which will guarantee that your laptop stays safe even though it’s going beyond what Windows 10 has deemed safe for maximum performance. You can still expect to see higher temperatures and louder fans than you might be used to, but you’ll be able to blaze through any computational tasks you throw at the laptop.

You don’t have to settle into a single performance mode

Then, when you’re done playing that extra-demanding game or running that ultra-long Python file, you can always push the setting back down to “balanced” or “quiet” when you don’t need it to run so quickly. Switching between “performance” and “balanced” modes lets you decide when you want to take care of heavy work, and it lets you keep the battery life you’re used to seeing from more casual workloads.

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