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Do I Have a Computer Virus?

Signs Your Computer May Have a Virus

The dreaded question. I clicked on a link. I opened a webpage. I was reading an email. I didn’t touch anything but somehow, it looks like I have a virus. How do I know?


The answer is not a straightforward one but there are some key signs to look out for and as always, it’s important to reach out to a professional and ensure your antivirus software is up-to-date. Don’t have antivirus software? Jump below to see our recommendations.

To start, you may have heard a computer virus called several things: malware, trojan horses, ransomware and more. To put it simply, malware is short for “malicious software” and encompasses every kind of computer virus out there, including trojan horses and ransomware.

Below are some ways to spot malware, no matter the type.

  • Unfamiliar downloads start when you didn’t intentionally download a file or program.
  • Pop-up ads and unsolicited browsers are opening.
  • A message fills the screen stating that you have errors or viruses & you are directed to call a phone number. This is usually accompanied by an audible alarm or a voice warning you to not turn off the computer.
  • The homepage of your browser changes on it’s own (and it was not changed by anyone else in the household).
  • Your computer unexpectedly shuts down or closes programs without prompting (and it was not triggered by a normal system or program update you authorized).
  • Your computer is slowing down.

While that last one, a slow computer, can be an indication of a virus, it is most commonly due to out of date software or insufficient hardware to handle your needs.

In all cases…

  1. Cancel the unexpected function immediately (if possible, many times it will not be)
  2. Shut down the computer (force if required by pressing the power button or pulling the plug)
  3. Contact an IT support professional in your area. Most companies, including Nagel Services, offer remote support to clients when possible but will need to inspect your computer in person upon a first visit.

To avoid the most common computer malware, we recommend the below software:

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