These days most people use their computers on a fairly regular basis. I would even go as so far to say that most people may be on their computers for at least up to an hour a day. That figure would be people that are using the computer strictly for recreational purposes only. We would have to add to that figure if we included people who are using their computer for work and play.
It has become the center of our entertainment and work place universe, so most people get to know their machines very intimately. When you use any kind of tool on a regular basis you start to get a feel when something is wrong with it. You may not be able to tell what is exactly wrong but you may have a gut feeling that things are not right.
When it comes to using your computer there are signs that it may be infected by a virus without running a virus scanner. Lets go over a couple of those signs. Keep in mind that this is not a surefire list that will reveal a virus on your system. Some viruses are sneaky and do their best to make sure that you do not know that they are on your system. They want to be able to collect data or use your computer resources without you knowing about it. That is why it is still a good ideal to run an antivirus scanner on a regular basis, with or without signs of foul play. Others times some of these signs that I am about to mention may show up but there is no infection on the computer. There may be a program running that you do not know about or a problem with the hardware.
Signs Of An Infection
Either way the signs that we are going to discuss are just that, signs. They in no way mean that you definitely have a virus. It means that you should do a quick scan with an antivirus program because there is a possibility that you may have a bug in your system.
The first sign that you may have a virus or other infection in your system is that you might have a lot of activity going on in your Internet connection.
Your computer connects to the Internet and your home network a lot in the process of everyday computing. Most of the time it is connecting for things that you do not know about but they are of a legit purpose. It may connect to the ISP to update its status or it may be even talking to your router to pull information from it. So just because you are not actively browsing the web and you see the light become active does not mean something is automatically wrong. The time to be worried that something is wrong is if the Internet light that you have on your router is going crazy all day long. If there is a constant sending of data packets out your computer and your browser is not open, now it may be time to be concerned.
Another sign that you may have an infection on your system is when at certain times your computer may slow to a crawl while you are using it. This is especially noticeable after you start up the computer and only have certain programs open and you are not actively using them. If there is nothing running on your computer, and yet it is still moving very slowly, then there may be a good chance that there is an infection somewhere on your computer.
You can click cntrl-alt-del and call up the task manager to see if you can pinpoint the problem. If there is a task taking up a lot of the CPU time and you or Google do not recognize the name then it is definitely time to run an antivirus check.
Pop Up Plague
Another sign that is not so discreet is the emergence of pop ups on your system when you are not connected to the Internet. This is most likely the sign of malware that has been planted on your computer and not necessarily a virus. You will still want to run an antivirus check to make sure that there is no infection. After the antivirus scan, make sure that you run a spyware analysis program on your computer as well.
I have shown you several signs that may indicate that you have a virus or other infection on your computer. If you are a frequent computer user then keeping a look out on any kind of abnormal computer behavior can be the first step in not becoming a victim of the bad guys.