Computer Virus Guide

Signs of a Virus Infection

There are some basic signs to look out for if you are concerned about virus infection. Whilst some are obscure, many are obvious – there are even some viruses that actually tell you they have infected your machine!

Some common signs of a virus infection are listed below:

  • Your system slows down. This can be especially noticeable if your machine is connected to a network
  • You see activity on your machine that you did not cause. For example, a disc drive light constantly flashing
  • An internal e-mail server becomes overloaded and slows down
  • Data files become corrupted or are missing
  • Programmes such as Microsoft Word or Excel display a message advising that the file you’re trying to load is not in the correct format
  • Unexpected changes to the content of files
  • Programmes do not run, or function incorrectly

If you experience signs such as these, don’t panic! Virus infection is not the only reason that they might happen.

Virus defence software is normally used to prevent infection, although it can also be used to provide problem diagnosis. Use the software to find out what it is you have been infected by – this can determine the way in which you deal with it.

If your system has been infected by a virus there is still no need to panic. Start the recovery process as soon as possible and then look at steps for prevention.

This information based on Crown Copyright 2003
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