If you computer suddenly becomes slower, the problem may not be hardware related. Sometimes programs known as “spyware” may be running in the background and taking over system resources such as memory and network bandwidth. The term spyware refers to any program that is installed on your system without your permission. These programs are often installed to deliver advertisements in the form of pop up windows. Most spyware will collect information about your web surfing habits and relay this information to an ad company so that it can send targeted popup ads when you are online. The traffic created by this communication can slow down your internet connection.
In addition to taking up system resources such as memory, hard drive space, and network bandwidth, spyware can put your privacy at risk while you are online. You should use a good spyware removal program to check your system for spyware on a regular basis. You do not have to pay for this kind of program. A good program to try is Ad-aware, which has both a free and a paid version. The free version does a good job of removing most spyware.