This is the most common question I get asked? Deciding whether your computer is too old is based on several factors. In realty, your computer has not aged at all. It is probably running just as it did when you first bought it. What changes over time is your use and demands on your computer. The factors affecting whether your computer will meet your current needs are; a) have your needs changed, b) are you running different software, c) are you connecting to different external equipment, such as, a new printer or the Internet for the first time.
If your original needs have not changed and you have not upgraded your software then your computer most likely is not too old. Upgrading software is probably the most common action that eventually would require you to get a new computer. New software demands more RAM memory. Software upgrades with extensive new features would also need more speed, called CPU speed. Upgrading your Windows software (for example, from XP to Vista) demands so much more additional RAM memory that a new computer becomes preferable in order to appear to run at the same speed.
Loading and installing lots of software programs DOES NOT slow down your computer. However, it does fill up your hard drive which eventually may become full. Deleting installed programs DOES NOT increase the speed of your computer. It only frees up hard drive space.
In some cases adding new external equipment such as a new printer, scanner, mouse or keyboard with a new type of connection might require you to purchase a new computer. External connections on a computer do change periodically and so new equipment may not work on older computers.