Doing as much as you can to prevent your computer from viruses, is always a good idea. But if you do all the preventative stuff and your computer is still running slow, how can you tell if it really is a virus you’ve caught, or if it’s a maintenance problem?

Slow computer? How to check if it’s a virus or a maintenance issue

Signs that your computer has caught a virus

Look for signs of a virus first, then you’ll know if you can eliminate it as the cause of your slow running. If your computer has any of the following symptoms, it’s likely that you are not facing a maintenance issue:

  • Annoying pop-up windows and unexpected adverts
  • Sluggish at starting up and slower-than-normal performance
  • A busy-sounding hard disk that makes whirring and spinning noises even though you have nothing excessive running
  • Sudden lack of storage space
  • Playing hide and seek with your files
  • Freezing, crashing and displaying error messages
  • High level of activity on the internet even when you’re not using it
  • Email gets hijacked – friends tell you they’re receiving odd messages from you, you haven’t actually sent
  • A confused browser, changing your homepage or redirecting you to unexpected websites
  • Unable to open or install your antivirus

If none of the above really applies to you, then congratulations! More than likely, you do not have a virus, and can move onto maintenance actions to try to get your computer up and running at better speed and efficiency.

Maintenance fixes for slow-running computers

  • Keep and make sure that all your software is up to date, including for your peripherals such as printers - let all your updates run as they need to
  • Free some disk space - check what capacity you’re at and delete things you don’t need
  • If you’re still running Windows 7 or older, defrag your hard drive - unless you have a solid-state drive (SSD) then this won’t be necessary, as Windows will do it automatically for you
  • Clear cache and cookies in the Settings of your browser
  • Limit start-up programs and disable those you don’t need to start as soon as you switch on
  • Get rid of unwanted programs by uninstalling those you no longer need, like trial versions, pre-loaded software, old games and out-of-date antivirus software
  • Remove temporary files by running Windows’ Disk Clean-up
  • Remove extra web browser toolbars that you don’t need that sometimes come pre-installed on your computer or with applications you’ve downloaded
  • Install a more efficient and faster solid-state drive (SSD)

Admittedly, some of these measures are more technical to carry out than others, for instance, Cultrix would always recommend that you get an IT professional to install SSDs. But there are some simple measures here that you can take care of yourself.

If your slow-running computer doesn’t have a virus and is still running slow after taking some of the measures to try to improve it, then you’ll need an expert to take a look at it.

The Cultrix team is here for the little things, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve got one or twenty computers, we’ll happily take a look or administer advice and support over the phone. We’ll always recommend preventative measures to protect against viruses, malware and lack of maintenance that results in slow-running, but even the best of us can end up with a ‘laggy’ machine. But don’t worry, Cultrix are here to put it right.