We get questions all the time about computer infections. “How can I tell if my computer is infected?” “What is my next step if I know my computer is infected?” Here at Wilson Computer Support, we love these questions as it is a chance to teach our customers how to handle infections and how to protect themselves in the future. The following scenarios are examples to watch out for when suspecting a virus or infection. These examples cover slow boot up times, unwanted pop-ups, programs starting or stopping without command, or no symptoms at all.
Is your computer taking an unusual amount of time to boot up?
A common symptom among infected computers is slow boot up times. A computer should start up and show the log in screen in around 30 to 60 seconds. There are exceptions to this such as large programs starting up upon boot up, or old hardware. Generally, it’s a safe to say that if you notice a large difference in the time it takes to boot up as opposed to the normal time, an infection may be causing this issue.
Are you seeing multiple advertisements or random pop-up messages while browsing the web or opening programs?
This is probably the most annoying of the symptoms as it can be distracting and hard to get rid of while trying to work. These type of ads like to offer “help” cleaning your system or will plant themselves on top of whatever window you are working in. These annoying pop-ups are a clear indication of infection. They can get into your computer through a legitimate program or a hidden attachment.
Does your computer “freeze” or just stop working?
Infections that are designed for computers like to cause as many problems as they can. These problems can range from a frozen browser, to programs such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat shutting down and displaying an error of “this program has unexpectedly stopped working”. If this is happening, it’s likely that your computer has become infected.
Does your computer show none of the above symptoms, but still seems a bit slow sometimes?
Some of the worst infections bury themselves so deeply into your computer that you don’t even know they’re there. The only indication to this specific infection is a slightly slower processing time or a slower internet connection. This infection could be using your computer to spread itself to others, or collecting information from your computer without telling you.
With technology being so integrated into our everyday lives, people have little time for infected or slow computers. The above examples are just a few things to be on the lookout for when considering the health of your computer and personal information. If you are seeing any of the scenarios play out and think that you may be infected, it’s a good idea to get a virus scan done on the computer. There are plenty of virus protection programs available, and it is advisable that you utilize one on your computer at all times. Our technicians here at Wilson Computer Support are well versed in these programs and can recommend one to you specific to your machine and usage needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you fear that you are infected or curious about how to protect yourself from these pesky infections.