Does Your Computer Have a Virus? Here’s How to Check

Conceptual image of a virus or other type of malicious software appearing on a laptop.vladwel / Shutterstock.com

Windows computers sometimes receive viruses and other malware, but all slow or misbehaving computers are not infected with malware. Here's how to check if you actually have a virus and if this suspicious process is dangerous or not.

What are the signs of a virus?

Poor performance, application crashes, and computer crash can sometimes be a sign of a virus another type of malware to make a carnage. However, this is not always the case: there are many more causes problems that may slow down your PC.

Likewise, the fact that your PC is working properly does not mean that it does not have malware. Viruses from a decade ago were often funky jokes that used a lot of system resources. Modern malware is more likely to hide silently and secretly in the background, trying to avoid detection in order to capture your credit card numbers and other personal information. In other words, modern criminals are often created by criminals for the sole purpose of earning money, and well-designed malware does not cause any significant computer problems.

Nevertheless, the sudden poor performance of your computer may indicate that you are infected with malware. Strange applications on your system may also indicate malware, but again, there is no guarantee that malware will be involved. Some applications open a command prompt window when updating. Thus, strange windows blinking on your screen and disappearing quickly can be part of the legitimate software of your system.

There is no single proof to look for without actually searching your PC for malware. Sometimes, malware causes computer problems, and sometimes they behave well while sneaking their focus in the background. The only way to know for sure if you have a malware is to examine your system.

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How to check if a process is a virus or not

You may be wondering if your computer is infected with a virus because you have observed a strange process in Windows Task Manager, which you can open by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc or by right-clicking on the Windows taskbar and selecting "Task Manager".

Opening the Windows Task Manager from the Windows 10 taskbar.

It's normal to see a lot of processes here – click on "More Details" if you see a smaller list. Many of these processes have strange and confusing names. It's normal. Windows includes many processes in the background, the manufacturer of your PC has added them, and the applications you install add them often.

The Windows 10 Task Manager shows the processes running.

Badly behaved malware often uses a lot of CPU, memory or disk resources, and can stand out here. If you want to know if a specific program is malicious, right-click it in Task Manager and select "Search Online" to search for more information.

If malware information appears when you search the process, it probably means that you are infected. However, do not assume that your computer is devoid of viruses simply because a process seems legitimate. A process can lie and say it's "Google Chrome" or "chrome.exe", but it may just be a malicious program that mimics Google Chrome in a different folder than your system . If you are concerned about malware, we recommend that you perform an anti-malware scan.

The online search option is not available in Windows 7. If you are using Windows 7, you must enter the name of the process in Google or another search engine.

Search for the name of an online process from the Windows Task Manager.

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How to scan your computer against viruses

By default, Windows 10 always searches for malware on your PC using the built-in Windows security application, also known as Windows Defender. However, you can perform manual scans.

In Windows 10, open the Start menu, type "Security," and then click the "Windows Security" shortcut to open it. You can also go to Settings> Update and Security> Windows Security> Open Windows Security.

Opening the Windows security application from the Windows 10 settings.

To perform an anti-malware scan, click on "Virus and threat protection".

Opening protection settings against viruses and threats in Windows Security.

Click on "Quick Scan" to scan your system against malware. Windows Security will perform an analysis and give you the results. If malicious software is detected, it will propose: remove it from your PC automatically

Manually search for viruses and other malware in Windows Security.

If you want a second opinion (always a good idea if you fear malware and your main antivirus can not find anything), you can also perform a scan with a different security application.

We like and recommend Malwarebytes, which goes well with Windows Security to provide an extra layer of protection for your PC. The free version of Malwarebytes will allow you to perform manual scans to detect viruses and other malicious programs on your PC. The paid version adds real-time protection, but if you only want to test the malware of a computer, the free version will work perfectly.

Malware malware search with Windows.

Windows 7 does not include built-in antivirus software. For a free antivirus you can download Microsoft Security Essentials and run a scan with her. This provides protection similar to the Windows Defender security software built into Windows 10.

If your antivirus application detects malicious software but has trouble removing it, try performing an analysis in Safe mode. You can also make sure your computer does not have any malware. reset Windows 10 to its default state.

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