Most are an I3 Sandy Bridge, this Lappy should not be running slow, it could be a virus, some virus protection that you get with a new Lappy is pretty average. I would follow the virus removal guide in the windows 7 Forum,
Possibly. The hp laptop I purchased just before netbooks came out showed noticeable improvements on a fresh install. As well, you may need to tweak the video aero options a little bit. A number of video desktop tweaks seemed to improve win7 alot with the hp. Less so with PC's. (I also destroyed the dumb-preloaded division of hp backups.)
On a side note, I've replaced win7 with Ubuntu and have had no problems speed-wise for basic stuff on said laptop. Just had some difficulty getting the drivers working for the wireless lan.
Since we're talking laptops I had a pair of them old toshiba laptops given to me one time. The ones with win98 pre-loaded, 8mb ram max.
One had a bad screen and good everything else while the other had a good screen and bad everything else, so I chose to tinker with the one I could read stuff from. Win98 would barely let me open 2 windows at once. Even a single window took 2-3 seconds to load up.
It was only a couple years ago and came across DSL and thought I would try that. Not only did it install on such an old copy, I had the glass-window effect right from the get-go and I was able to open windows inside of a second and multi-browse up to 5 different pages; depending on the java requirements. (java intense websites dropped opened windows down to 2 if I was lucky.)
I haven't tried DSL on the new laptop yet. I had tried it on my old PC and didn't notice much difference for basic runs. (I had win7 tweaked already and the ram had amazing timings which worked better for win7 then DSL.)
On hindsight, I wish I had kept the old laptops. I was planning to make one of them server farms with DSL on them; but they got tossed when I was moving. (difficult since I don't know anything about that stuff. ^_^)