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Does your system have a virus, or something else?

It's not too uncommon that someone brings me a computer and they say "I think I have a virus! It was running fine yesterday, but it is so slow now."

It is a good possibility that they might have a virus, however it could be a much worse problem. You might have a failing hard drive. If your a bit lucky it could be that you just don't have enough ram.

In most cases a hard drive fails slowly over time, and you generally don't notice until you get an error message or your system stops booting.

So how can you tell if your performance problem is a virus or hardware issue?

Lets start with the obvious things:

  • Does your system make a grinding noise?
  • Do your fans always seem to run full speed?
  • Do you hear loud clicking noises from your system?
  • Is your system hot to the touch?

If you answered yes to any of those you should take a look at your hardware first. Make sure your system is free of dirt and dust to start and work from there.

If none of the above applied to you, and your system still runs go ahead and do a spyware and virus scan in safemode.

Running your computer in safemode can give you a hint as well. Usually safemode can show how your system will run without extra startup items.

If your system runs much faster in safemode, start cleaning up extra startup programs on your system. If cleaning up these startup items still does'nt improve performance, check your ram usage and if something is using your processor alot.

Following these few steps can help you diagnose a hardware issue before it becomes worse. Of course if you are not comfortable doing these tests take your system to a trained tech to have it checked out.


Last Updated: 07/14/2009 12:56 PM

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