Identify a virus on a PC

PC virus protection

Keep your Windows Operating System and files safe by learning how to identify common types of virus.

How do I know if I have a virus?

In order to successfully protect your PC or internet devices from a virus attack, including a worm virus or trojan virus, you must learn how to identify the virus or other threats to your system.

Some common indicators that you have a virus infection are:

  • Your computer runs slowly or crashes and restarts
  • Your computer stops responding, locks up or doesn’t run normally
  • Applications on your computer don't work correctly
  • Disks or disk drives are not accessible
  • You see unusual error messages

While these are common signs of infection, they also may have nothing to do with a virus at all. To be sure, you can either check individual files or your entire system with a free virus scan.

You should then enhance your Windows file security by installing the latest antivirus software for Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 antivirus features.

Recognise virus threats

Antivirus software goes a long way in giving PC virus protection, but you will be even safer if you understand how to recognise virus threats and avoid them.

A malware virus works by infecting your system with malware or a worm which accesses your e-mail contacts and spreads to them. In this way hackers can also gain access to your important personal files and passwords. It is important to know how to identify these threats.

The first rule of identifying viruses is to be aware of any unexpected attachments, links within e-mails, or e-mail content that seems odd. For example, if you receive an e-mail purporting to be from a bank such as Barclays or NatWest, it is unlikely the e-mail would contain spelling mistakes, exclamation marks or use inappropriate language. Neither would an official e-mail ever ask for your PIN or account details.

The best protection, however, is a reliable antivirus software product that works quietly in the background of your computer and takes up minimal system resources, yet will still detect all infections and place them in quarantine so you can easily view and deal with them as required.

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