Look out for malware
Is your PC running at a snail’s pace? Are you experiencing frequent pop-ups and weird goings on?
If so, it’s more than likely that your system has been infected by a virus, spyware or other nasty.
But I have antivirus; I hear you cry. OK, but that doesn’t mean your PC is entirely immune to the ‘bad guys’. It could be playing up because you have a hardware issue.
Either way, the following steps will help you discover if the cause is something more sinister.
Enter safe mode
First up, disconnect your PC from the internet.
Then boot into safe mode.
In most versions of Windows this is relatively straightforward, but if you’re using Windows 10, select you’re going to need a bit of help.
- Click the Start button, select the Power button but don’t click anything
- Hold down the Shift key and click Reboot
- When the full-screen menu appears chooseTroubleshooting, then Advanced Options, then Start-up Settings
- On the next window click Restart and wait for the next screen to appear
- Next, you will see a menu with numbered start-up options, select number 4 which is safe mode
If your PC runs faster in safe mode is could be a sign your system has a malware infection, or that you have a lot of legitimate programs that start up with Windows.
Get rid of temporary files
Once in safe mode, and before running a virus scan, delete your temporary files using the Disk Cleanup utility.
Download malware scanners
If you have an active antivirus program on your computer, use a different scanner for this malware check.
Remember, no antivirus program can detect 100% of malware.
If you think your PC is infected, use an on-demand scanner (e.g. BitDefender Free Edition, Malwarebytes, Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool etc.,) first and then follow up with a full scan by your real-time antivirus program.
Reconnect to the internet to download the on-demand scanner, but make sure your disconnect again before you start the scanning.
Run the setup file and follow the wizard to install the program. Once it has run, you’ll get a report on the start of your PC. If anything shows up, follow the program’s removal process. Then run a full scan with your real-time antivirus program to make sure it’s gone.