Yeah I was planning on getting an SSD, should I still use my hdd?and I think i probably dont have malware because i just did a fresh install of windows a while agoCheck the drive's SMART data as suggested above to make sure it's not failing. If that turns out clear, I'd try running a manual defragment overnight. But I suspect this is just the new normal. I've been noticing this problem more and more with clients who have HDD-only systems. My theory is that this is the result of OS developers exclusively using computers with SSDs now.
In the past when they used HDD systems, and they made a change to the OS which bogged down a hard drive, their test system would slow to unusable, and they would say "uh oh," track down the problem, and fix it. But now that they're using only SSDs, they don't notice when they make a change which causes a HDD to bog down. But users with HDD-only systems sure notice when that OS update gets rolled out to them.
The only real fix is to buy a SSD. If you're price-constrained, get a 250 GB SSD. That will be enough for the OS and programs and a little data. Avoid the 120 GB SSDs - those are barely borderline usable now. Fortunately prices have come down enough that the additional cost of a 250 GB SSD over a 120 GB just means skipping Starbucks a couple times. If you can afford it, I'd get a 500 GB SSD - that will have plenty of room for the OS, programs, and working data.
You can also run MalwareBytes to try to clear up any malware/spyware which is bogging down your system.
I'd also go through and disable any unnecessary apps which are auto-starting when your computer starts.
But usually the HDD is bogging down so much that these two steps take hours when they should take minutes. i get so frustrated that I just talk the client into paying for a SSD. (I can diagnose and fix the problem and bill them for 2 hours of my time, with a warning that the problem will probably come back as they install/update more programs. Or they can pay for a SSD and I'll bill them for just 30 minutes of my time needed to clone their OS drive to the SSD.)