When computer performance slows down, it can be hard to pinpoint the problem. Not all slow speed issues are because of viruses, and not all viruses can be detected by simply opening up the task manager or noticing pop-up advertisements. You don't need to spend time worrying about the depths of each specific problem if you're getting repairs done, but it's worth knowing what a technician should be charging you for. Here's a bit of diagnostic information to help you figure out what's going on with your PC and what to expect from technicians.

Viruses, Malware and Other Malicious Programming

When it comes to programs intended to do harm, knowing the symptoms is key. If you're not internet savvy, here are a few things to look out for.

Advertisements before doing anything at all. Advertisements are simply a part of the internet, but modern advertising knows that people are easily annoyed by ads. For this reason, most reputable sites have ads that are neatly to the side of the content (the words you want to read, or the pictures and videos you want to see). Sometimes a related screen will fade out the website, but can be closed easily.

If you're getting these ads when you're not even using the internet, or if you're being taken to a completely different website, wonder no more. That's a virus, and you should pass the system off to a virus removal professional.

Not all viruses are so obvious, and they can even follow the rules of the more polite advertisers. Annoying toolbars can make your browser slower and are the source of future advertisements, but the bigger issue is that they take up resources.

Any virus, no matter the intent, is a program that takes up resources like any other. Your processor has to calculate more because of their existence, meaning that it calculates and delivers the things you want to do slower. Memory factors in as well, and viruses take up your memory to often full capacity, rendering your computer useless.

Viruses can be removed by a professional, but what if there's no virus?

When to Get a New Computer

There's no need to buy a new computer every year. Computer parts don't upgrade to useful amounts that high, and the few people who need the newest parts every year are computer building hobbyists or extreme gamers who just want the latest tech toy.

It's hard to put an exact number of years on when to upgrade, but the speed of your computer is a general indicator. If your computer is still slow after scanning for any viruses or creating a new profile to get a fresh start, it usually means that the programs you use are too demanding.

As time goes by, programmers take advantage of newer computer parts and capabilities. It isn't sudden or overnight in the grand scheme of things, as most leading software companies understand that they need to design the latest tax software, internet browser, or word processing program to suit most computer users, and most users aren't upgrading their systems every single year.

If you've been left behind over the years, it's usually because of faster processors or bigger memory capacities. Contact a desktop and laptop repair professional like those at Computer Exchange to figure out which part is being slow and whether you need a full upgrade or just a part.