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Why is my computer running slow?

Pc Overload

 

Too Many Programs Loading During Startup

 

When a computer is overloaded with too many programs loading at startup, the performance of the PC suffers noticeably.  Stopping Programs from loading into memory is one of the most effective ways to tune up your PC. 

 

The reason for this is simple and can be described in an analogy.
Your computer is made up of many components.  Three components that are directly related to the PCs performance are your computers memory, your hard drive, and your computers CPU.
Imagine you are sitting at your desk (you probably are).  Now imagine that the memory within your computer is your actual desk's surface, the area where you spread out your paperwork.  The PC's hard drive is the filing cabinet.  You are the CPU.  When you sit down at your desk to do work, you get your paperwork out of the filing cabinet and spread it across your desk surface.   The more files you get out of the filing cabinet and spread across your desk, the more cluttered your desk becomes.  Too much on the desk and you can't get anything done, you have no more room to work.  So you begin working out of your filing cabinet, which is much slower than working off of your desk surface.  This is similar to what your PC does.  When a program is started, it loads from the hard drive (filing cabinet) into memory (desk).  The CPU (you) works with the files in memory.  When the PC uses up all the memory, it begins to swap memory space off of your hard drive (swap space is a chunk of hard drive space that is uses as memory, only much, much slower than actual PC memory).
The bottom line is you only have so much memory in the PC.  Unloading as much as possible from memory gives the PC room to work and frees up resources to work more efficiently.

 

Spyware/Adware/Malware

 

Unless you know how to avoid it and/or combat it, you probably have it on your computer.  If you do know about it and scan for it, if you haven't scanned in a while, you probably have something new on your PC.  Just about every PC has something that fits this category running on the PC, eating up resources, or worse yet, spying on your activity, collecting data from you. 
What's the purpose of Spyware?  Why do they do it?  Big Money.  Or at least the potential for Big money.  Lets face it.  There are gullible people out there.  People who will read that pop-up message, maybe even buy something.  The large majority of people will not.  But with millions of PCs out there, the odds are the people that hired the script writers or programmers will make a few bucks.  While Microsoft is making some progress in fixing the incredible number of security holes in their operating systems, every computer running one of the flavors of Windows, including the latest operating systems from Microsoft, will be affected by Spyware or Adware.

 

 

Viruses

In computer security, computer virus is a self-replicating computer program that spreads by inserting copies of itself into other executable code or documents. A computer virus behaves in a way similar to a biological virus, which spreads by inserting itself into living cells. Extending the analogy, the insertion of a virus into the program is termed as an "infection", and the infected file, or executable code that is not part of a file, is called a "host". Viruses are one of the several types of malicious software or malware. In common parlance, the term virus is often extended to refer to worms, trojan horses and other sorts of malware; viruses in the narrow sense of the word are less common than they used to be, compared to other forms of malware. However, in a stricter sense, viruses, worms and Trojans are different from one another. They have different characteristics and behaviors.

While viruses can be intentionally destructive, for example, by destroying data, many other viruses are benign or merely annoying. Some viruses have a delayed payload, which is sometimes called a bomb. For example, a virus might display a message on a specific day or wait until it has infected a certain number of hosts. A time bomb occurs during a particular date or time, and a logic bomb occurs when the user of a computer takes an action that triggers the bomb. The predominant negative effect of viruses is their uncontrolled self-reproduction, which wastes or overwhelms computer resources.

Today, viruses are somewhat less common than network-borne worms, due to the popularity of the Internet. Anti-virus software, originally designed to protect computers from viruses, has in turn expanded to cover worms and other threats such as spyware, identity theft and adware.

 

Browser Hijacker

 

Browser hijacks can fall into the same category as Spyware, adware, malware, and other Trojans but always directly affect the web browser of the computer that is hijacked.  Many computer users do not realize when these programs have been secretly installed on their computer.  They may also not realize that their system or browsers settings have been changed.

 

Symptoms a computer user may encounter when their web browser or the computer system itself has been hijacked:

 

Your default home page changes to a different page; commonly a search page or one of an adult nature.

 

A slowdown in the computer's performance.

 

You discover new toolbars in the browser such as a new search toolbar added to the browser window.

 

Your default search engine or other settings have changed.

 

Popups occur out of nowhere, even without the web browser being open. Sometimes related to the type of information you are looking at within your web browser.

 

Some sort of element is overlaid on the browser window, possible trying to lure you into using it as a search tool or click it's ads.