One of the most common complaints we hear from those who worry that their machine has been infected by malware are complaints that a computer is running very slowly. But why is this? Wouldn’t a virus like to remain hidden? Or is it just a malicious coders idea of a joke: just someone trying to slow down your internet for fun?

First off, there are many different types of malware. Not all of them will cause your PC to slow down. And there are many reasons that your computer might be running slowly other than the presence of viruses. To understand, ill briefly explain why a computer runs slowly in the first place. Your computer has a limited number of components, all which perform tasks. Newer and better hardware will be able to perform more tasks simultaneously, and better software allows it to do tasks more quickly. If your computer is running slowly, there are likely two causes. The first is that your computer has too many tasks to handle. This could be because there is a lot of bloatware on the machine, or the machine is older and modern operating systems require more power. A second cause of poor performance is if something is slowing down each action. For example, a fragmented hard drive makes it much more difficult to take each action.

A virus might cause your computer to be sluggish if it has taken over function and is having your computer do other tasks that you are unaware of. This means that suddenly your machine is tasked with doing everything that you want it to do, and also everything that the virus is asking it to do. This means that to you it may appear slow to respond, as the demand on its processor has increased.

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If your PC suddenly starts becoming sluggish, unresponsive, or randomly gives you popups, these are signs that you might be infected. However, a key thing to remember is that a virus will cause this change suddenly. If your computer is slow but it has been getting worse over a period of time, it is unlikely that a virus is responsible. Rather, your computer could be becoming bogged down by a fragmented hard drive, bloatware, or other problems that are unrelated to malware. If your computer is running slowly, first try to clean up the hard drive and remove any add ons that are taking up memory. However, if this doesn’t work, you may need to have a virus removed.