How To Tell If Your Computer Has A Virus: 6 Potential Signs

Has your computer recently been performing slower than it usually does so you are assuming that you might have a virus on it? It does not necessarily mean that your computer has a virus just because it is misbehaving or being slower than usual and we are going to show you how to check if you are in danger from a virus or some other malware or not. 

Most common signs of a virus

If you are almost hundred percent sure that your computer is infected with malware then check if it has one of these 6 red flags that indicate if you might have a virus.

  1. Major slowing in performance – if your files are taking long to load and if your computer takes an oddly long time to start.
  2. Pop-ups that are telling you to install a certain program such as an antivirus but are actually going to install malware.
  3. You are unable to open a certain setting or a file (if you can’t entirely open your computer then it is definitely infected with malware).
  4. Your web browser’s home page keeps changing every time even though you set a certain home page manually. 
  5. Random programs that start as you start your computer
  6. You have a laptop and your battery is getting drained out quickly

If you didn’t recognize any of these signs you might think that you are safe from a virus, but it does not necessarily mean so. Good malware is disguised really well and it is incredibly hard to detect it as it is not using any resources from your computer or it can have a disguised name of a trusted program. 

How to recognize a virus?

Just because your PC is delivering poor performance or is crashing at a certain program or a game that you are using can be a sign of a virus, but it doesn’t have to be one. There can always be other things slowing your computer down such as resource-hungry programs such as browsers with many tabs opened.

But also, just because everything seems fine with your PC and it is running smoothly, doesn’t mean that there aren’t any malwares on it. There are some programs that might raise your suspicion that you have a malware such as Commands Prompt opening when you’re open a certain program or when it updates. Or weird windows flashing and quickly disappearing that make you wonder if you have a virus, but it might as well be just normal. 

Malware used to cause damage to your computer years ago, but nowadays the people who are creating them are focusing on stealing your credit card information and not damaging your computer, so a good malware will try to stay as hidden as possible and not cause any interruptions to your work. Sometimes malware causes damage to your computer and sometimes it’s a good mannered one. It is safe to say that there is no other way in finding out if your computer is infected than scanning and examining your PC for it.

How to scan your PC for viruses

Every Windows 10 should have Windows Defender turned on by default, unless you manually turn it off. It is always detecting viruses on your PC if there are any, but you can also manually scan for viruses yourself. Here are the steps on how to run a scan:

  1. Open your start menu and type ‘’Security’’ and click on the ‘’Windows Security’’ that pops up to open it. 
  2. Click on ‘’Virus & threat protection’’.
  3. ‘’Click on ‘’Quick scan’’ to perform a scan that detects viruses on your computer

If any malwares have been found, you will automatically be offered to remove them from your PC. In case you want extra security and you didn’t detect any malware with the Windows Defender scan, you can always download a third-party program that scans your computer for threats. 

We would like to recommend Malwarebytes as a software that pairs well with Windows Security to provide you with an extra layer of security. Even though you need to pay to use it, getting the trial version will do just fine as with the trial version you can manually scan for viruses and the paid version gives you real-time protection.

If your antivirus program happens to detect a virus but it can’t seem to remove it, you can repeat the process in Safe Mode. Another option to make sure that you have no viruses is by resetting your computer to its factory settings.

Additionally, if you are using Windows 7, it does not have a default antivirus like Windows 10 does with Windows Defender, so you can download one for free by downloading Microsoft Security Essentials and run a scan with it. It gives you the same amount of security just like the Windows Defender software does.

Detecting viruses in Task Manager

You might think that your computer may contain malware just because there is a weird process going on in the Task Manager. It is normal that there are a lot of processes in it with some strange names, but those are most likely just Windows applications that are necessary for your computer to run. Your computer’s manufacturer might have also added some processes to it, so that can be a reason for confusion as well. 

If you have a bad mannered malware on your computer, then you will probably immediately detect it in Task Manager because it will be draining a huge amount of either your CPU, RAM, GPU or Disk resources. Once you find something suspicious, you right-click it and press ‘’Search Online’’ to find more information about it. If you find information about a malware after you run the ‘’Search Online’’ option, it is very likely that your PC has a virus on it.

Another thing that may confuse you is if the virus is using a name to cover itself. For example, it can be using the name ‘’Google Chrome’’ so you might think that it is just your browser. You right-click it and see where it is located, if it is located in a different folder than your actual Google Chrome, then that probably means you have a virus. If you are using Windows 7, then the ‘’Search Online’’ option doesn’t work so you will have to manually enter the name of the process in your browser to check if it has anything to do with malware or not.

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