8 Symptoms of an Infected Computer

Do you know how to tell if your computer has a virus? Sometimes there's no way to be sure, but often computers give hints that something isn't right. Check your computer for the symptoms below to make sure it is secure and not at risk from a virus.

1. Slower Internet and Processing
A slower computer doesn't necessarily mean you have a virus, but if it's a sudden enough change in speed, it may be worth checking out. Use a speed test to check your internet speed and use your computer's task manager to measure processing power. If either seem slower than usual, perform a scan with your antivirus software.

2. Unexpected Computer Behavior
Viruses can do all kinds of strange things to your computer. If your computer stops responding to clicks, decides to open files on its own, scrolls or acts as if a key's been pressed when it hasn't, you may be experiencing computer virus symptoms. Your computer shouldn't seem like it's thinking for itself.

3. Sudden Freezes & Crashes
Because viruses damage your hard drive, they can cause your computer to experience a catastrophic failure. If you're lucky enough that your computer still turns on after a crash, make sure to run antivirus software to determine whether a virus was the cause.

4. Error Messages
Your computer knows something is wrong before you do. One of the most noticeable symptoms of a computer virus is the sudden appearance of pop-up messages warning you about missing system or application files. Research messages by putting them in a search engine to see if you can diagnose a virus.

5. Advertisements
It's common to see ads as you browse the internet, but if you start seeing them when you're not actively browsing, that is a telltale sign of a virus. Do not click on these ads, even if they say they are for antivirus software.

6. Outgoing Emails
Viruses try to spread themselves by email. If you notice emails in your sent box that you didn't send, you probably have a virus. If you get an email from a friend that seems suspicious, they might have a virus. Do not click on any links or open any attachments in questionable emails.

7. Missing or Extra Files
Keep track of the size of your hard drive. A virus may install copies of itself or unwanted files on your computer. Viruses also delete files unexpectedly. When you start seeing something strange or missing, it's time to run a virus scan.

8. Hardware and Accessory Problems
If you suddenly have a problem with your computer's display, such as mixing pixels or color problems, this can be a sign of a virus messing with your system. A networked printer may also start acting up if it becomes infected.

Remember, your computer will not always show symptoms if it's infected. Always perform regular system checks and virus scans to make sure your computer is clean. Also, practice preventive care. Never click on unfamiliar links in emails or pop-up ads to keep your computer safe from exposure.

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