In 2002, there were around 60,000 known computer viruses, trojans, worms, and other malware. But the number soon proliferated, and continues to grow rapidly, with the prevalence of the internet. The total number of computer viruses has already crossed the one million mark, according to BBC.
It is not always easy to catch a computer virus because it ravages your PC. Cybercriminals have become smart enough to conceal their codes while it operates on an infected computer. However, there are ways that you can use to scan your system and get rid of malicious software.
This guide includes four ways that will help you scan the viruses that may reside on your PC and determine the severity of those programs. However, before we get to that, it may be useful to understand the symptoms of an infected computer so that you can immediately realize whenever the security of your system is compromised.
Symptoms of a virus:
It is difficult to write down all the symptoms of an infected PC because the same signs can be caused due to hardware failure and system incompatibility. However, we have compiled the common symptoms that may suggest the presence of malicious software on your computer.
- Poor performance and application crashes
- The PC hangs or becomes unresponsive
- The computer screen goes black
- System restarts
- Seeing unusual error messages
- The desktop icons change without you doing anything
- You are unable to access files and programs
- The web browser freezes and stops working
- You get redirected to pages that you did not click
If your system has any of these symptoms, we advise you to follow the methods shared in this guide to remove the virus that you have on the computer. However, it is possible that certain malware may conceal their operation and accomplish their goals in the background.
The only way to find out whether your PC is compromised is to scan your PC for it. Here is how you can do it:
- Look for any unusual system activity:
A simple way to check your computer for any virus is by visiting the Task Manager. It is a powerful Windows feature that provides detailed information about the processes and programs running on your PC. Follow these steps to visit the Task Manager and see all the system processes.
- Go to Start menu and type ‘Task Manager.’
- Alternatively, you can press Alt+Ctrl+Del and click on ‘Task Manager’ in the window that appears
- Tap the Processes button in the menu to see all the processes running on the system
- Click on More Details to see an extensive list
- Look for any unusual process that is consuming a large amount of memory, disk resources, and CPU power
- Right-click on the suspicious process and select End Task. You also have a ‘Search Online’ option to get more information about the process.
However, you shouldn’t assume that your PC is free from viruses if you only see legitimate processes in the Task Manager.
Some processes may appear valid, but they can be viruses impersonating other legitimate programs located on your computer. If you’re concerned about malware, we recommend an antivirus scan.
- Use the Windows Defender application:
Windows 10 comes with an in-built security application that scans your system for malware by default. You can also perform anti-malware manual scans with the application. Here, we share a step by step process of how to use the Windows Security application.
- Go to start menu and type ‘Security.’
- Click on Windows Security and select Settings
- Now click on Update and Security and tap on Windows Security in the menu
- Click Virus and Threat Protection to perform an antivirus scan
- Under the Scan window, you will get three options: Quick Scan, Full Scan, and a Custom Scan
- Select your desired Scan option and click Scan Now
Windows Defender will start scanning your PC for malware and give your results. The application will also offer options to remove any malware that it detects once the scan finishes.
- Use third-party security software:
You can also scan your PC for viruses with a third-party security software. There are numerous options, but we will share only a few.
Avast Antivirus: Avast is a security and antivirus app that protects your computer against all kinds of malicious viruses. The software provides a virus scanner, malware removal, and a firewall to keep your system safe and clean.
Kaspersky Total Security: Kaspersky antivirus software provides excellent protection against malware and spyware. It also offers anti-theft protection, a VPN, file encryption option, and webcam protection. With the rich parental control and secure browser, it offers excellent value for money.
Norton 360 Deluxe: The Norton Antivirus products offer virus protection along with password protection, decent parental controls, and 50 GB of cloud storage space. Norton offers three options with varying degrees of security at different prices. The Norton 360 Deluxe starts at $49.99 per year.
- Remove the virus manually:
There are cases when you need to scan and remove a virus manually. This may involve some technical process, so it should be your last option. You will need familiarity with Windows Registry, and you should know how to delete the system and program files in Windows. Here is how to do it:
- Run the antivirus software to scan the system
- Identify the virus by name after the system scan: It can be words in messages or subject line and name in an email
- Search the Microsoft Malware Protection Centre to find references about the virus
- Follow the instructions on the site for how to remove the virus
Viruses and malicious software can result in decreased system performance and loss of valuable data. Therefore, you need to regularly scan your system to secure your data for prying eyes.
However, before you perform a virus scan, you need to back up all the important files, videos, and pictures. After all, you do not want them to be erased with the viruses.
Justin is a Technology enthusiast. Staying atop the latest technology trends, He just loves to search and write about Technology, Not only that, but he loves to share his thoughts with a myriad of people via his blogs.