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Do I have a virus or malicious software?

It’s easy for your computer to pick up malicious software, it’s everywhere these days and the internet is loaded with it. Sometimes it’s obvious you have a problem, other times you may not realise your PC is infected until it’s too late, but there are warning signs, things to look out for and ways that you can minimise the risks.

The warning signs

Here are a few general things that may mean your PC or Laptop has become infected, some obvious and some not quite so obvious.

Your computer is running slow – Viruses and Malware run in the background while you are using your PC for its daily tasks, this puts extra load (work) on your computer and the result is that your PC slows down.  You may or may not have any other signs at this point, but it’s worth checking for infections to be safe if you notice that your pc is slower than usual or if it is taking a long time to start up.

You’ve noticed an icon on your desktop or some software installed that you do not recognise – When a computer becomes infected, you will often notice programs appearing on your desktop that you have not knowingly installed.  These things tend to install themselves and their friends; before you realise it your computer can become over run.  You may notice unfamiliar icons on your desktop, on your start menu, or popping up while you’re trying to use your PC.

You are getting pop-ups when your computer starts up, and when you are on the internet – This is the classic warning sign that something is wrong. If you are getting pop ups or programs you don’t recognise, telling you that you need to pay money to fix the problem, then you definitely have some sort of infection. Switch it off, get it to a professional ASAP.

So what can I do to minimise the risks?

Anti-virus Software
It sounds obvious but make sure you have some anti-virus software installed and updated, keeping them up to date is very important because new viruses are constantly emerging. Your anti-virus software is only as good as its last update!  At PC GUY we recommend AVG Anti-Virus.

Anti-Malware / Adware Software
A lot of the time its adware / malware that you will pick up, a lot of the big anti-virus programs do not detect and remove this. I’ve seen PC’s loaded with adware and anti-virus programs saying everything is fine.  I recommend you run an anti-malware / adware program alongside your anti-virus.


Be sensible on the internet
Most of the time this is where your PC will get infected, on the internet.  The web is loaded with viruses, adware and malware, one wrong click is all it takes.  Again, it sounds obvious, but really think about what you are clicking on before clicking it.  When downloading something, make sure you are downloading it from a reputable website, check the URL address in your browser, make sure you are where you want to be before going ahead.  I.e. if you're downloading a Google application, make sure you download it from Google's website, and not a third party site.

Suspicious emails
Another difficult one to manage is the infected email, sometimes it may even come from a friends PC (which has itself become infected) and sometimes it may claim to be from a company or organisation (fake emails from Microsoft, Banks, and Couriers are all common scam emails).  Again, you have to think “am I expecting this email?” “Is there a suspicious attachment to the email? “ “Would this company really send me this email?” If you are not sure, do not open the email.

PC Guy is here to help

If you suspect your PC is infected I recommend you get it checked by a professional ASAP, this is a service I provide and a service we carry out on a daily basis. PC Guy covers Ellesmere Port, Wirral and Chester and has extensive experience in dealing with viruses, malware and adware removal. At some point this will happen to all of us, we are not here to judge, we are here to help. Call 0151 339 0760.


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