The two things you can do to speed it up:
1. Restore to factory conditions via the recovery media. Then install all Windows Updates again and only the applications you really need. For the HP bells and whistles you don't it suffices to not run them, uninstalling has no advantages.
2. Put in all the RAM that's supported.
If you have some more money: replace the hard disk by a SSD.
This laptop is fine for what I want, downloading photos and emailing, surfing, some games BUT I'd like to know how to speed it up a bit. I don't need all the bells and whistles that came with it as an Entertainment Notebook.
Any suggestions will be appreciated.