if you don't have the original disk, what will you do if the Operating System fails and you have to reinstall? You need to sort that out with the person you got the laptop off.
Running really slowly can mean many things, so all we can do is supply options;
1] Is the OS infected by viruses or other malware? If so, download, install and scan with reputable anti-virus and anti-malware scanners.
2] Too many services running in the background. This is no easy matter but the Black Viper's guide to Vista Services will help you decide which services this system needs, and which it doesn't.
3] Too many startup applications. If there are too many applications loading at startup this may cause performance problems. To check this system's startup files open the MSCONFIG console;
Start menu > All Programs > Accessories > Run. Type in msconfig and click OK. Goto the Startup tab and check down the list.
4] Dirty laptop? Look at Bob's post in the Laptop Troubleshooting forum about cleaning the laptop, (post 6).
5] Under-powered? Much more difficult to resolve, but increasing the RAM may help. Or it may be that Vista was 'forced' onto this machine when it is not really able to use it.
Some things to get you started.
I recently bought a laptop from someone and it was not cleaned before they sold it to me. It has a bunch of junk on it and runs really slowley. I would like to clean it completely and start from scratch however I do not have the original OS disk or any of the programs originally installed. I'm not sure exactly what I am doing so as detailed an as you can provide would be greatly appreciated . This is a Toshiba Satellite. I'm not sure what other info is needed to give me a straight answer so please let me know what you need. Thank you very much.