If you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, your computer might have a virus.
Is your computer running very slowly? A common symptom of a virus is much slower than normal computer performance. However, there can be other reasons for slow performance, including a hard disk that needs defragmenting, a computer that needs more memory (RAM), or the existence of spyware or adware.
Are you getting unexpected messages, or are programs starting automatically? Some viruses can cause damage to Windows or some of your programs. The results of this damage might include messages appearing unexpectedly, programs starting or closing automatically, or Windows shutting down suddenly.
Is your modem or hard disk working overtime? An email virus works by sending many copies of itself by email. One indicator of this is that the activity light on your broadband or external modem is constantly lit; another is the sound of your computer's hard disk continually working. These are not always symptoms of a computer virus, but when combined with other problems, can indicate a virus infection.
To check for viruses, scan your computer with an antivirus program. New viruses appear every day, so keeping your antivirus program updated is important.
How to tell if your computer is infected with spyware
Spyware is a type of software that is installed on your computer to watch and record your activity. Some types of spyware record your keystrokes and information that you type into websites or other programs and then use that information for targeted advertising or identity theft. These programs can be installed on your computer in many ways, but often they are hidden inside of software such as free games, screen savers, or animated cursors.
Here are some signs that your computer might be infected with spyware:
You notice new toolbars, links, or favorites that you didn't intentionally add to your web browser.
Your home page, mouse pointer, or search program changes unexpectedly.
You type the address of a specific website into your web browser, but you're taken to a completely unrelated website.
You see pop-up ads, even if your computer isn't connected to the Internet.
Your computer suddenly starts running slowly. Not all computer performance problems are caused by spyware, but spyware can cause a noticeable change.
Sometimes, your computer will show no symptoms, even if a spyware program is running. To help protect your privacy and your computer, we recommend that you run Windows Defender or another antispyware program at all times.
Is it too late?
Has your computer been infected beyond what your antivirus software can remove?
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