During my senior year of college, Sparky, who had been slowly limping along, suddenly panicked and the next thing I knew, I had a mostly empty hard drive. Strangely enough, there was no apparent rhyme or reason to what, exactly, was sacrificed in the Great Hard Drive Suicide of 1999, but it was certainly traumatic.
So, after the semester I took off to look after Patrick and help to run and then sell my dad's alarm company and monitoring station after he died, I bought Sparky Junior, a 1.7 GHz (10 times faster than Sparky; I was ecstatic) PC with 256 MB of RAM and a 15" LCD monitor. It ran Windows Me (yeah, I know), which I eventually upgraded to XP.
The sticking point here is the RAM. It is a random kind of RAM that only existed for a brief time before SDRAM appeared and took over the world, and not even Crucial carries it.
Being a fairly well-informed computer user (translation = uber nerd), I am careful to protect my computer from spyware and viruses and only visit a few trusted sites when using the PC (as opposed to my laptop). I have virus programs and spyware checkers, and have both a software and hardware firewall.
So I don't think the way my computer randomly slows to a crawl and complains of being out of memory is a virus or spyware issue.
I think Sparky Junior is dying.
Or, rather, I think Sparky Junior's memory is dying, and seeing as how it's virtually impossible to replace, I will soon be in the market for a desktop. Having become a Mac fan in the interim -- especially now that you can also run Windows for those few applications that require it (Boardmaker and Writing With Symbols being the main suspects) -- it will likely be an iMac. I wish I could afford the utter powerhouse that is the Mac Pro, but because that would require me to buy a monitor as well, I just won't be able to swing that. For the price I'd pay on the Mac Pro and the monitor, I could get a very nice iMac as well as Final Cut Studio.
Alas, Poor Sparky Junior; I knew him, Horatio....