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5 Warning Signs That Your Computer is Infected by a Virus

Published on 12 November 13
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Computer viruses can be a huge headache to deal with. These programs delete stored files, make simple tasks difficult to accomplish and even steal sensitive personal information. Viruses work in different ways, but all too often than not, these programs continue to wreak havoc on computer systems until functions come to a halt. It is for this reason that you need to detect a computer virus so as to mitigate the damage it can cause. Of course running routine virus scans is one way to protect your computer from malicious attacks. But, it may be a case of âtoo little too lateâ when a virus program enters your computer and executes undesirable tasks before you even get the chance to run your normal security checks. So, what can you do to avoid this? Well, here are 5 warning signs of a potential PC virus attack.


Sudden Slow Performance


Unusual slow performance is indeed the first telltale signs of an infected computer. Some virus programs execute tasks in the background that cause your computer to run slow. It can be tricky though to tell whether a virus has compromised the performance of your computer. Sometimes normal programs that require large system resources can cause other applications to freeze. However, if your PC is suddenly more sluggish than usual, unresponsive or even crashes, there is a high possibility that a virus could be the cause.


An Influx of Email Messages You did not Send


Computer viruses use email spamming to spread and infect other computers. Some malware programs hijack your mail and start sending infected messages to your contacts without your knowledge. So, one way to tell if your PC is infected with a computer virus is if there are sent email messages that you did not initiate yourself. This can be hard to discover, especially if you are one of those people that rarely check the sent messages folder in your e-mail. However, you should be on the lookout and detect any unusual sent email messages because you do not want to be the cause of virus infections.


Perpetual Alerts and Error Messages on Your Desktop


Pop up ads are common when surfing the web. However, if they come up on your desktop, that can be a sign that your computer is infected. Usually, these alerts come in the form of error messages. They warn you of spyware programs running in the background, and recommend purchasing some anti-spyware that will supposedly solve the problem. Avoid buying any software recommendations from such unusual alerts that appear on your desktop. Spyware programs use this technique to steal your financial information.


Programs and Functions that no Longer Work


If you try to open an application or system utility and it refuses to work for some reason, this could be because of a virus attack. Malicious programs usually delete essential files that applications require to function properly. When that happens, the affected programs or operating system utilities fail to launch or they do not work as expected. Sometimes this can be caused by software or hardware malfunction. To be sure that a virus attack is behind program malfunction, make sure to troubleshoot the problem. If this does not resolve the issue, there is a high chance that your computer is infected.


Unknown Tool bars on Your Browser


If your browser has new toolbars that you did not install, this is a sure sign that you visited an infected website. Virus authors like to spread malware, spyware and other malicious software through web browser adware. It is important to remove unknown toolbars as soon as you see them, because they could save your internet history, passwords and steal other personal information as you surf the web.


IvanaZuber is a software developer and computer genius. Visit her software engineering blog if you want to learn more about computer security and other IT related topics.











Computer viruses can be a huge headache to deal with. These programs delete stored files, make simple tasks difficult to accomplish and even steal sensitive personal information. Viruses work in different ways, but all too often than not, these programs continue to wreak havoc on computer systems until functions come to a halt. It is for this reason that you need to detect a computer virus so as to mitigate the damage it can cause. Of course running routine virus scans is one way to protect your computer from malicious attacks. But, it may be a case of âtoo little too lateâ when a virus program enters your computer and executes undesirable tasks before you even get the chance to run your normal security checks. So, what can you do to avoid this? Well, here are 5 warning signs of a potential PC virus attack.

Sudden Slow Performance




Unusual slow performance is indeed the first telltale signs of an infected computer. Some virus programs execute tasks in the background that cause your computer to run slow. It can be tricky though to tell whether a virus has compromised the performance of your computer. Sometimes normal programs that require large system resources can cause other applications to freeze. However, if your PC is suddenly more sluggish than usual, unresponsive or even crashes, there is a high possibility that a virus could be the cause.

An Influx of Email Messages You did not Send




Computer viruses use email spamming to spread and infect other computers. Some malware programs hijack your mail and start sending infected messages to your contacts without your knowledge. So, one way to tell if your PC is infected with a computer virus is if there are sent email messages that you did not initiate yourself. This can be hard to discover, especially if you are one of those people that rarely check the sent messages folder in your e-mail. However, you should be on the lookout and detect any unusual sent email messages because you do not want to be the cause of virus infections.

Perpetual Alerts and Error Messages on Your Desktop




Pop up ads are common when surfing the web. However, if they come up on your desktop, that can be a sign that your computer is infected. Usually, these alerts come in the form of error messages. They warn you of spyware programs running in the background, and recommend purchasing some anti-spyware that will supposedly solve the problem. Avoid buying any software recommendations from such unusual alerts that appear on your desktop. Spyware programs use this technique to steal your financial information.

Programs and Functions that no Longer Work




If you try to open an application or system utility and it refuses to work for some reason, this could be because of a virus attack. Malicious programs usually delete essential files that applications require to function properly. When that happens, the affected programs or operating system utilities fail to launch or they do not work as expected. Sometimes this can be caused by software or hardware malfunction. To be sure that a virus attack is behind program malfunction, make sure to troubleshoot the problem. If this does not resolve the issue, there is a high chance that your computer is infected.

Unknown Tool bars on Your Browser




If your browser has new toolbars that you did not install, this is a sure sign that you visited an infected website. Virus authors like to spread malware, spyware and other malicious software through web browser adware. It is important to remove unknown toolbars as soon as you see them, because they could save your internet history, passwords and steal other personal information as you surf the web.

IvanaZuber is a software developer and computer genius. Visit her software engineering blog if you want to learn more about computer security and other IT related topics.

This blog is listed under IT Security & Architecture Community

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