How can I tell if I have a virus? What do I do?
Typically you will see one or more of the following symptoms:
- The computer takes longer to boot to the Windows desktop
- The computer fails to boot properly
- Applications will not load or frequently stop responding
- Frequent system error messages or errors loading applications
- Unfamiliar icons are added to the desktop
- Generally slow system performance, especially while browsing the Internet
- Browser windows close unexpectedly or stop responding
- The browser home page changes and cannot be reset
- Pop-up windows display more frequent and/or when the browser is not open
- Unfamiliar toolbars are added to the browser
- Default web search engine has changed
- Clicking a web link does nothing, or goes to an unrelated website
- Webpages are automatically added to your favorites list
- Email messages or social media posts are sent from users address without their knowledge
- Unexpected and near constant hard disk access
There may be other symptoms, but this is a pretty solid list. Also note that cyber crimicals are very smart nowadays - having a computer virus or other typle of active malicious code (malware) may be completely symptomless, too
What to Do If You Have a Virus
If you think your computer has a virus, check out the appropriate document below for more information on how to diagnose, deal with, and prevent future infections:
Just a heads up that typically, virus or malware infections are not covered under hardware warranty. You may be referred to a pay service like SmartFriend or asked to run a recovery.
Some Malware or Viruses can be very persistent and hard to effectively remove. Ultimately, preparation for viruses if the best defense. Reset to a factory state can sometimes be quicker and easier, assuming you are prepared. With that in mind:
- Remember to back up your data regularly, especially the data that is most important to you (photos, videos, personal documents, unfinished homework).
- If possible back up to more than one place like an external drive, CD, or DVDs.
* Having clean back up of everything important will take some sting out of having to start over*
- Make sure you have created your recovery media and have it available. If you need assistance with this, review one of the following documents: