Windows machines in recent years have become extremely bottlenecked by drive performance, especially in the case of laptops which are so popular in companies. Laptop hard drives are slow, capable of only about 80 IOPS which is about the same speed they were 10 years ago, whereas mainstream SSDs by comparison, can typically deliver 80,000 IOPS. Since once you get Windows loaded up with all it's random messy software it's disk access ends up being tons of tiny reads, IOPS is a much more important number than transfer rate, and SSDs are literally 1000x faster. It can mean the difference between a 20 minute operation and one that takes a few seconds.
If you are in any way in control over your corporate purchases, never *ever* buy another laptop without a SSD. It's false efficiency, wasting very expensive time to save a relatively cheap expense. 256GB SSDs are under $100 and will handle most corporate work just fine. Up to 1TB, the expense is almost negligible and it will pay for itself almost immediately. Your IT department will be happier, your workers will be happier, your machines will be more secure because scanning them is a lot less intrusive and can happen more often. Your IT department should have a pile of SSDs ready to be deployed into any machine that needs to be re-imaged or where the user needs the speed. Not doing so is wasting money.
> I recently reinstalled Windows 7 Home on a laptop. A factory restore (minus the shovelware), all the Windows updates
No you didn't. You *thought* you installed all the updates because Windows lied to you and said you had. Windows Update has a horrible habit of checking to see what updates are available **for the state of your machine right now** and then telling you that it's done installing updates when those are installed, when in truth there are pending updates that required previous updates to be installed before they could subsequently be installed that Windows Update won't tell you about until you re-discover what updates are available. After an install, force re-scan after every reboot to see what new updates are now available and when you reboot and re-scan and it says you are done, you are actually done.