If you have ever bought a new computer, there is nothing like how cool it seems when you first get it out of the box. Everything is so clean, and new, and it appears to be much faster than your old machine. But then after a while, something seems to happen. You start to go online, and start to download all kinds of cool software. Pretty soon your computer doesn't seem to be as fast as it used to be.
Many assume that is just the way it is. Some people call this "CPU creep," which just means that over time, your computer will tend to run slower and slower as you add more programs. While it is true that the same processor won't run as fast if you have several applications, it's not a given that your computer will slow down after a given amount of time.
To understand if any slow down is normal, take a look at the programs that are listed in your start up menu. These programs are the ones that automatically fire up whenever you switch on your machine. Common ones are Skype, Quicktime, Microsoft Office, and an Internet connection program if you have your Internet set up in a particular way. Often times these programs will automatically check for updates, and that can cause a bit of slowdown.
But chances are, if you are experiencing a significant decrease in speeds, you have something called spyware and adware on your computer. One way to check is to run your task manager, if you are running windows. You'll see a nice sortable list of all the programs running on your PC, and how much of your memory and CPU they are using up. If you see something you don't recognize, simply Google it and see what you come up with.
Many times it is a manifestation of another program, which is all good. But sometimes it will be a spyware or adware program. Spyware and adware programs are software programs that sneak around and collect personal information, usually for advertising purposes. While not dangerous in and of themselves, they can significantly slow down your computer speed, making it very frustrating if you are trying to run some memory rich or high processor dependent programs, like video editing for example.
Sometimes you can get away with just clicking on the "end process" button from within the task manager, but many times this simply won't work. The spyware developers have made many of them very hard to shut down that way. Which is exactly why it is a must in today's Internet environment to have a good, strong anti spyware and adware program that will not only scan your system on a regular basis, but get rid of the ones that you likely have right now.