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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He"s composed about an innovation for over a decade and also was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has actually written because that The new York Times, been interviewed as a modern technology expert top top TV stations prefer Miami"s NBC 6, and also had his job-related covered by news outlets favor the BBC. Due to the fact that 2011, Chris has written end 2,000 short articles that have been read almost one billion times---and that"s just below at How-To Geek. Read more...

You are watching: How to find a virus on computer

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UpdatedDec 14, 2020, 5:14 pm EDT| 3 min read
vladwel/Shutterstock.comWindows computer systems sometimes do gain viruses and also other malware, yet not every slow-moving or misbehaving pc is infected by malware. Here’s just how to examine if friend actually have actually a virus—and whether that suspicious process is dangerous or not.

What room the indications of a Virus?

Poor performance, applications crashes, and also computer freezes can sometimes be the sign of a virus or another type of malware scary havoc. However, that’s not constantly the case: over there are countless other causes of troubles that deserve to slow down your PC.

Likewise, just due to the fact that your computer is to run fine doesn’t mean it doesn’t have actually malware. The viruses the a decade back were frequently pranks the ran wild and used a lot of system resources. Contemporary malware is much more likely come lurk silently and also covertly in the background, trying to evade detection so that can catch your credit transaction card numbers and also other an individual information. In various other words, contemporary malware is often developed by criminals just to do money, and also well-crafted malware won’t cause any kind of noticeable PC troubles at all.

Still, sudden negative PC performance might be one sign you have malware. Strange applications on your mechanism may additionally indicate malware—but, as soon as again, there’s no insurance malware is involved. Some applications popular music up a Command Prompt home window when they update, for this reason strange home windows flashing onto her screen and also quickly disappearing may be a normal part of the legitimate software application on her system.

There’s no one-size-fits-all item of proof to look because that without actually scanning your computer for malware. Periodically malware reasons PC problems, and also sometimes it’s well-behaved when sneakily accomplishing its score in the background. The only method to know for sure whether you have malware is to study your mechanism for it.

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How to inspect if a process Is a Virus or Not

You could be wondering if your computer system has a virus since you’ve seen a strange process in the Windows job Manager, which you have the right to open by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc or through right-clicking the windows taskbar and also selecting “Task Manager.”



It’s typical to see quite a few processes here—click “More Details” if you watch a smaller list. Numerous of this processes have strange, confuse names. That’s normal. Windows has quite a couple of background processes, your computer manufacturer added some, and also applications you download often include them.


Badly behaved malware will often use a huge amount of CPU, memory, or disc resources and also may stand the end here. If you’re curious around whether a certain program is malicious, right-click that in the task Manager and also select “Search Online” to find an ext information.

If information around malware shows up when you find the process, that’s a authorize you likely have actually malware. However, don’t assume that your computer is virus-free just due to the fact that a process looks legitimate. A procedure could lie and also say it’s “Google Chrome” or “chrome.exe,” yet it may simply be malware impersonating Google Chrome that’s located in a various folder on your system. If you’re pertained to you could have malware, us recommend performing an anti-malware scan.

The search Online option isn’t available on home windows 7. If you usage Windows 7, you’ll need to plug the name of the process into Google or another search engine instead.


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How come Scan Your computer for Viruses

By default, home windows 10 is always scanning your pc for malware with the incorporated Windows defense application, additionally known as home windows Defender. You can, however, perform hands-on scans.


On home windows 10, open your start menu, kind “Security,” and click the “Windows Security” faster way to open up it. Friend can likewise head to setups > update & security > Windows security > open Windows Security.


To perform an anti-malware scan, click “Virus & risk protection.”


Click “Quick Scan” to scan your device for malware. Windows defense will do a scan and give you the results. If any malware is found, that will offer to eliminate it native your pc automatically.


If you desire a 2nd opinion—always a great idea if you’re pertained to you might have malware, and your major antivirus doesn’t find anything—you deserve to perform a scan through a various security application, too.

We like and also recommend Malwarebytes, which pairs well with Windows defense to administer an extra great of protection for her PC. The cost-free version that Malwarebytes will let you perform manual scans to check for viruses and also other malware on her PC. The paid version adds real-time protection—but, if you’re simply looking to check a computer for malware, the totally free version will job-related perfectly.



Windows 7 doesn’t include built-in antivirus software. For complimentary antivirus, you can download Microsoft security Essentials and also run a scan through it. This provides similar protection to the windows Defender security software constructed into home windows 10.

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If your antivirus application finds malware but has problem removing it, shot performing a scan in safe Mode. Friend can likewise ensure you don’t have actually malware ~ above your computer by resetting windows 10 come its default state.

RELATED: How to remove Viruses and Malware on Your home windows PC

Chris HoffmanChris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief the How-To Geek. He"s created about modern technology for end a decade and also was a PCWorld columnist for 2 years. Chris has actually written for The brand-new York Times, been interviewed together a modern technology expert top top TV stations prefer Miami"s NBC 6, and also had his work-related covered by news outlets prefer the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has actually written end 2,000 write-ups that have actually been read virtually one exchange rate times---and that"s just right here at How-To Geek. Read complete Bio »