If your computer has been running slow or just not performing as well as it did when you first purchased it, you owe it to yourself to find out the cause of your problem. One possibility is that you have a computer virus. Viruses can wreak havoc on your computer’s performance, and it is important that you know what you are up against. Here is a “computer virus” definition, along with 5 signs you have one.
What a Virus Is:
A computer virus is a program that can copy itself and spread across one or more computers when they are connected to a network without the knowledge of the user. Viruses can be particularly tricky to remove from your computer because they can self-modify or change over time as they copy themselves.
Fortunately, viruses can only spread across multiple computers if an uninfected computer is connected to a network, or if the computer gets connected to infected media such as a USB drive or a CD.
Do you suspect your computer might be infected with a virus? Look for these tell-tale signs:
1. Computer is running more slowly than usual:
If your computer runs slowly upon start-up, you may have a virus. Common signs are having to wait a long time to perform simple tasks such as checking e-mail or opening files. In really serious cases, your mouse pointer may even lag as it moves across the screen.
2. Locks up or crashes frequently:
Does your computer frequently just stop working or otherwise lock up, causing you to have to restart your computer? This phenomenon is also called freezing or freezing up. If your computer locks up often and/or suddenly, a virus could be the culprit.
3. You cannot access your disks:
If you are having trouble accessing your internal hard drives or external disk drives, your computer may have a virus. For example, if you click on your directory and cannot gain access to your disks, this is a tell-tale sign you may have a virus.
4. You cannot print items correctly:
Printer performance an also be affected by the presence of a virus. For example, if your printers are not accessible or if the printing results are not satisfactory, this could be a sign of a virus at work.
5. Your anti-virus software is disabled for no apparent reason:
Most computers ship with anti-virus software pre-installed. The best anti-virus products should be more than sufficient in keeping your computer protected. However, you know you have a serious problem if your anti-virus software itself seems to be repeatedly disabled upon start-up or when you try to run a virus scan. The most dangerous viruses can actually try to block your anti-virus software from working properly (for obvious reasons), which effectively renders your computer open to all potential invaders.
Viruses are not the only things that can cause performance problems for your computer. Other common causes are malware, adware, spyware, and registry problems. If your computer is not performing properly, you should explore all possibilities, including these other common causes of degraded performance.