Virus Signs and Signals From Your Computer
This time of the year, illness is prevalent all over the country I live in. From coast to coast, Americans spend much of their winter fighting colds, flu, and other bugs. We fill hospital emergency rooms and doctor’s offices only to hear the same refrain: prevention is key. Although many of us know this, we habitually ignore our body’s warnings, even when we know the potential outcome could be severe. I ignored my body’s repeated attempts at telling me sickness was right around the corner if I didn’t slow down. With my PC, however, I always react immediately when it sends signals that disaster is looming.
Much like my doctor, I believe that prevention really is key – for your computer’s sake. Do you know when your computer isn’t behaving normally? Would you recognize symptoms of an impending technical catastrophe? I can’t stress it enough, and I’ll repeat it again and again: get to know your computer! You don’t have believe in psychic phenomena to know when your computer is in trouble.
- Your computer takes a really long time to boot up. A really, really long time.If you can turn on your computer, grab a cup of coffee, check the weather, make a phone call and come back to see that your computer is still booting, that’s not good. As a general rule, a boot up of longer than 3-4 minutes may indicate a problem. Don’t panic though. A long boot up time doesn’t necessarily indicate that your system is infected with a virus. It may just indicate that you have a large number of programs, a small amount of available memory, or a few unnecessary programs booting when you start your PC. You should worry if your PC boots a lot more slowly than it typically does very suddenly.
- Inconsistency is never good. From the awesome boyfriend who suddenly stops calling to the weaving driver in the lane next to you, erratic behavior is a sure indicator that there’s a problem. If your computer sometimes runs great and other times is barely functional, pay attention. Slowing down during different applications, frequent error messages, long wait periods for programs that should start up without a hitch – these are all good signs that there’s an issue somewhere. Don’t be satisfied with constantly rebooting to get things working well. You shouldn’t have to do that at all.
- Crashing! If your computer freezes while you’re using it and can only be used again after rebooting it, that’s a crash. If your computer interrupts you and reboots itself without prompting – that’s a crash too. If your computer often crashes, it’s a good indicator that there may be a virus lurking somewhere.
A few other indicators include: mysterious pop ups, distorted graphics, unusual dialog boxes, or disconnection from hardware.
Remember, when your computer exhibits these symptoms, it may already be too late! So act immediately to save your data. Treat your technical system like you would treat your body – don’t ignore the warning signs. Prevention can keep you and your computer from ailing.
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