Question: My computer keeps locking up and runs quite a bit slower than it used to. Programs like Internet Explorer and MS Office freeze when I try to open them. Is it time to buy a new computer?
Answer: Before you go out and buy a new system, consider this: your computer's hardware hasn't changed (the processor, the memory, the hard drive, etc), so it's not likely the cause of the performance problems you're experiencing - which is good news because I'm sure you'd rather not shell out several hundred dollars for a new computer.
Chances are good that you have a virus that has infected your system and is slowing down performance.
How to find out if your system has been infected with a virus:
If you're experiencing performance problems and in particular are seeing weird behavior such as programs freezing or the system locking up, then it's time to scan your system for viruses (even if you have Norton or McAfee already installed - those programs are notorious for not knowing about the latest viruses).
I recently found a program that will scan your system and remove viruses for free. It's called AVG Free, and here's the download link: http://free.avg.com/
Here's what it found when it scanned my system: