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Steps to follow if you think your computer has a virus

Lee Wrall


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Dangerous and frustrating, using a device that is infected with a virus can often carry a heavy cost. No matter if you are using your machine for personal or professional use, a virus can significantly slow down your work, harvest your data, and leave you open to follow up attacks that can result in data loss, financial theft, and more.

So, how can you tell if your computer has a virus and what steps should you take to combat it?

What are the tell-tale signs that you have a computer virus?

While it is easy to suspect that there might be a virus on your computer, there are a number of common symptoms that present themselves if your PC, laptop, or smart device is host to a virus.

These include, but are not limited to-

Reduced Speed: If your computer significantly slows, this can be a sign of a background program using additional processing power to complete tasks or maliciously affect your device.

Pop Ups: These can affect your default homepage, dashboard toolbar, or overall browsing experience. If these cannot be removed by conventional means, such as looking at Chrome extensions, a virus can potentially be at the root of the problem.

Increased Noise: When your device accesses its hard drive or storage, it can increase the sound of your fan or cause your handset to heat up. If this is the case, carrying out a virus check is an obvious first port of call.

Unfamiliar Programs: If you open up your system tray and see that unfamiliar programs are running, take the time to carry out a quick check about their origin. If they are revealed to be malicious or are not there by default, a virus could potentially be the cause.

Unusual Behaviour: While every system can develop its own tics with age, significant overnight change can be the mark of a virus. This can be slow boot up times, sound issues, image problems and more.

Overall, if you suspect that your device has been infected, the best thing you can do is conduct an in-depth, dedicated scan to root out the source of the issue.

What should you do?

If you believe that your device has been affected by a virus, it is important to take action instantly. This can allow you to tackle the problem head on, letting you get back to work quickly and safely. Here are some key actions to take:

1. Acquire a Virus Scanner:

The first step is to stop your work immediately and seek out a quality, reliable virus scanner. Some great options include AVG, Kaspersky, Avast and more. These will often come with a ‘paid’ version, but the free options will often give you the suite of tools that you need to address your problem. If you want to be extra thorough, conducting a Microsoft Security scan in addition to your download can help catch any common issues or complaints.

2. Update and Go Offline:

Once you have secured the right tool for your scan, take the time to download the latest update for the software and check that it is running on your computer. With these updates in place, disconnect yourself from the internet and check that you are unable to access any file transfers. If you are still unsure, you can take the step of turning your router off if you are especially concerned.

3. Enter Safe Mode:

When you are ready to conduct the scan, reset your computer to safe mode. This will help shut down any unnecessary programs and help prevent any background processes from running. Once in safe mode you can carry out the rest of your virus checking with greater efficiency and safety.

4. Conduct your Scan:

Once your computer has reset, it’s time to run a virus scan on your device. Ideally, this should be as in depth as possible and allow you to better understand any issues you are facing. If a virus is discovered, it can be removed or quarantined – letting you identify it and follow up online to see the potential cause of the virus and if other users are affected.

5. Assess and Evaluate:

Once the scan is complete, you can rest your device and run through your daily tasks to see if the interruption continues. However, it is important to remember that while the immediate problem may have gone away, it’s worth walking through the actions that potentially led to the virus being embedded on your devices, such as opening unsolicited attachments, visiting certain sites, and the potential risks of infection. If you have interacted with other individuals or members of staff, it is important for them to check their devices as well and be sure that they have not also be affected.

If you are still experiencing issues, it is important to seek out professional help from a provider that is experienced in providing ongoing support with technical and security issues. While this may be prove to be inconvenient, taking care of your devices can help improve their longevity, efficiency, and ensure downtime or other ongoing issues are kept to an absolute minimum.

What next?

If you want to learn more about what you should do in the event of a virus, our team at Everything Tech is here to help. With many years’ experience working with a range of clients, we understand the importance of providing timely care when it truly counts.

You can view our full list of services or you can take a closer look at our on site testimonials to learn more about how we work and the value we provide for our clients.

If you have any other questions and queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch directly and let our team know exactly what you need to resolve your issues today.

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