The term “Virus” has evolved into a blanket term covering most types of unwanted software that can cause many different issues on your computer. How can you tell if you have a virus, spyware or malware issue, or if there are other issues?
The best way to tell if your computer may be infected is if there is unexplained or unwanted activity that occurs. If your computer starts running extremely slow, takes twice as long to boot up, and if your high speed internet is reduced to dial-up speeds, you may be infected with a virus. Those can also be signs of other problems, like a hard drive that is starting to fail, bad memory, a failing power supply, etc.
Some other easy signs are when you have an active antivirus/anti-malware software program that is scanning your computer, and it pops up with a warning about a virus. Some viruses are designed to look like a legitimate warning. Once you click on the fake warning, your computer may become compromised.
You may also get a bunch of un-wanted pop-up ads, and your web browser may re-direct you to websites that you do not want to view.
Removing the Infections
If a windows pops up telling you that you have a virus, and it wants you to click on a link or button, you may not want to do that. Our rule of thumb is, if you get a suspicious warning, immediately close all the windows and programs. Then run your Antivirus program by clicking START–ALL PROGRAMS, and choosing the correct program. Let it complete a scan, and if it finds anything during that scan, you can take the recommended steps to remove or quarantine the infection.
If you run the scan, and nothing is found, yet you still have the symptoms listed above, your antivirus program may have been compromised. There is a way to run an antivirus scan without downloading or installing any programs. This is a good way to test your system. Just go the this website, http://housecall.trendmicro.com/. Click on the LAUNCH button and follow the on-screen instructions.
Viruses and Malware are written to be sneaky and hard to remove. Sometimes, standard procedures for removing the infections just do not work. You can search the internet for specific solutions to infection problems. It is a good idea to have as much information about the problem as possible. Be armed with this information to conduct a good search:
- The Operating System Version (ie. Windows XP, Windows Vista Business, etc.)
- Specific Error Messages (these should be verbatim for better results)
- A list of Processes (processes are all the programs that are currently running on your computer. View these by typing CTRL-ALT-DEL on your keyboard)
Many solutions may require additional software downloads. If you do not feel comfortable downloading unknown software, it may be time to seek a professional.