The only app/task running is safari, with a few tabs open, but the laptop is getting really hot, to the point that the fan runs on full blast. The vent's aren't blocked, and I've kept it on top of a book. I've already tried resetting the SMC, and the OS is up to date. After some time, it starts getting laggy and slow, as if I'm running something really heavy, which I'm not. Why could this be happening?
".. for no reason?"
I see reasons.
1) Use Etrecheck to zap the adware, or use the free version of MalwareBytes (https://www.malwarebytes.com/mac/). Both are safe and are work products of long-serving and trusted contributors here
2) Completely and with extreme prejudice remove McAfee using the developer's instructions. That increases the CPU workload and, thus, temps. Also, one McAfee component is stuck—another source of system load.
3) Don't do torrents. That is likely where you caught your case of adware.
4) A component of Chrome is running in the background and using a whopping one-eighth of your very limited and non-upgradeable RAM. You have neither the RAM nor the hard drive space to run Chrome, which cripples battery runtime and increases temps on both Mac and Windows computers.
5) Use Etrecheck's cleanup function to get rid of the items it identifies as "executable not found."
A couple of other less egregious things that can help, but are not so critical as the first five:
1) It appears you may have two ad blockers installed. Emerging evidence suggests having two different ad blockers can decrease performance due to conflicting actions. Decide which one you love the most and throw the other off the ship.
2) Were I dealing with such limited hardware resources as in your computer, I would be very cautious of leaving any browser window open in the background.
Yes, sometimes we must, but try not to forget it's back there when you don't need it. I am finding more and more websites that use far more than their fair share of resources while in the background, even in Safari.
I can produce this effect at will by leaving the Amazon home page open in a background tab on my MacBook Pro. The first time it happened I was on battery and noticed the charge level had plummeted and the CPU temp showed well higher than its usual reading. Activity Monitor told the tale:
There were ten other Safari tabs open at the time of the screenshot. When I combined all ten's energy usage, it was still less than half of what Amazon was using alone.
With non-upgradeable RAM and a tiny SSD, you have some management issue before you, but don't look to anti-virus or so-called "cleaning" apps. Installing those is a self-inflicted wound.
Download EtreCheck: https://etrecheck.com/ and post the report here.
Click, “Free Download” button and then “Click to download” button,
open Downloads folder, click on it to open, and then select ”Open”.
“Choose a problem” from the popup menu box, and then “Start EtreCheck” in the dialog.
Click “Share Report” button in the toolbar and select “Copy report”.
Click the “Page” button in the toolbar at the bottom of this page and paste it when you reply.
Note: This is a diagnostic test.
Keep your Mac notebook within acceptable operating temperatures
Thanks, I gave up on all the scanning and deleting files and just erased the hard drive. It seems to be running fine now.