Wheel of time my friends...
Ahahah, nice answer!
PC's are a pain. Even if you don't load your computer with new programs, the constant OS and plug-ins update will turn your machine obsolete in 3 or 4 years. Less then that if you start with anything below state-of-the-art. It's the wheel of time taking it's toll.
Drop of performance means that the machine is not coping so well with whatever it is it must run. Now this can mean that you have something new and more resource demanding then before, so it makes sense to start by an anti-virus and spyware check.
Reg cleaners... I avoid them like the plague. I used them before and they completely messed up my reg tree. I now have to uninstall programs through a 3rd party application because Add/Remove is Kapute. If what is slowing down your PC are bits and residues of uninstalled programs, then a clean install is the best thing you can do.
If all of the above fails, you need to upgrade. New processor, more memory, it really depends but you might end up having to buy a lot of new things. For example, I really need a new processor, but that means changing my mobo also and, because of that, my old and trusty AGP graphics card.
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