Sadly in the last few years the number of computers that are infected by a virus has risen dramatically, with more infected computers today than ever before. Luckily there are lots of simple ways of spotting the symptoms of virus infection.
The most common sign of infection is that your computer is responding much more slowly than usual, and taking forever to perform tasks that only took a few seconds before. A virus can take up a lot of your computer’s resources, and make it hard for the computer to perform everyday tasks. There can be other reasons for a sudden slowdown, but the most common is an infection.
You might also notice that your computer starts up much more slowly than usual. If you haven’t made any significant modifications to your computer, and you are finding a few minutes added to your start up time, then there is a very good chance you are infected.
Lots of things can cause your computer to freeze up and crash, but if it has started doing it consistently then chances are you have a computer virus. Viruses often interfere with the important files that keep your computer running smoothly, and an increased frequency of crashes is a tell tale sign.
Applications that won’t run or files that don’t open for no apparent reason are other potential indications of virus activity in your system. Viruses can also cause printers and other devices to suddenly stop working.
Some viruses cause the files on your computer to expand dramatically in size, taking up a huge amount of space on your hard disk drive. If you find that files are getting larger even when you aren’t accessing them, it’s a good indication that you’ve been infected. If you suddenly find your hard disk is full to capacity without you downloading or installing any large files, then it’s another worrying sign.
As a general rule, any situation where your computer starts to behave differently to the way you expect could be a sign of a virus. If you suspect that your computer may have a virus, there is no reason to panic. Most computer viruses are merely annoying rather than catastrophic, and in most cases your precious data will be safe. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take regular back ups, however!
Even if the problem is just a minor annoyance, it’s best to get it checked out either by antivirus software or a professional. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be a virus, it’s certainly an indication of something wrong with your computer.