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How to Know If You Have a Computer Virus

Do you ever worry that your computer is infected with a virus?

Falling victim to a computer virus is a common concern. Nobody wants to deal with the potential issues and expenses that a virus could cause, after all. But that doesn’t mean you need to panic every time your computer runs a little slow.

The symptoms of a computer virus can vary and sometimes what you might consider to be a sure-fire sign of infection might be related to some other issue. If your computer’s performance has changed, it could very well be as the result of a virus, but it could just as easily be due to something far more benign.

So, how do you know when it is appropriate to worry or take action? Even though some symptoms may be common to more than one problem, here are some of the more common issues associated with computer viruses:

Significant Slowdown

While slowdown can be caused by other things—such as running multiple programs at once—it is also a common warning sign of a potential virus. If you find that your computer is taking much longer than usual to perform routine tasks, that should make you suspicious.

Likewise, if you find that navigating through your various file folders is slower than usual, you may have a virus. Certain viruses can reproduce and multiply your files, which will slow things down by filling up disk space. This is a symptom to watch out for.

Your System is Slow to Start

When we buy a new computer, we are often surprised at how fast it is at startup. Over time, it may become slower due to various programs being added, but if you find that it suddenly starts to take an unusually long time to start, or if it simply hangs indefinitely, it is worth investigating as it may be a sign of infection.

Having your System Crash

System crashes can and do occur without any sort of virus being present, but if you are experiencing system crashes that occur frequently, or without any sort of warning, there may be a virus present.

When your system restarts, take note of its behaviour and try to be aware of any unusual changes.  A computer with a virus may start to crash every few minutes, seemingly without reason. This is one symptom that, all by itself, might indicate an infection in your system.

Other, Bizarre Errors

These can take several different forms, such as popup ads, or more insidiously, as anti-virus warnings that make you think your system is infected, and then have you click on them, actually causing the infection yourself.

Taking proper care to avoid computer viruses is a much better approach than trying to deal with them once they have invaded your system. You should take every precaution to prevent any potential infection. Your system should be protected by an antivirus program, but more than simply installing it, you will need to keep it up-to-date by renewing it in a timely manner, ensuring that latest virus definitions are in place.

As they say with human infections, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.