Do I have a virus?
Does your nothing happen when you hit the button on the front of your computer? .. Then NO you do not have a virus. Currently there are no viruses that can kill your computers hardware
Does an antivirus product that you have never seen before pop up once you get into windows and say you have x number of infections and the proceed to lock you out of all your programs telling you that every one of them is infected and the only way to kill the virus if to buy this strange new antivirus program?…. Then NO you are not infected with a virus you have spyware. These fake or rouge antivirus programs pretend that your computer is infected and make you computer unusable so that you will pay them money for their fake program. Once you have paid them the program continues to try and make you panic just in case you pay again. These in some way get permission to install on your computer and do not spread from your computer to others. There are other versions of this that tell you that your hard disk is failing and won’t let you open your programs and wants you to pay for their fake program to fix these problems.
Someone from Windows or IT support has just called me to say I have a virus and that they can see my computer is running slow?…Then NO you do not have a virus. This is a scam with a hard sell. Everyone thinks there computer is slowing down and everyone is paranoid about viruses so they play on this and can charge up to $500 to log into your computer remotely and show you perfectly ordinary things in windows that seem worrying to the non tech savvy. If you get these calls just hang up.
The only thing that will tell you that you have a virus is your own antivirus or sometimes your internet service provider may just cut you off until you have fixed the virus.
Is you computer running perfectly? Has your computer just started going slow? Are there random errors or crashes? Are you getting lots of returned email that you did not send?… Then you MAY have a virus. To be honest the traditional virus is not very common any more but they are still out there and still trying to spread from computer to computer. Some viruses have a payload that will go off on a particular day that may attack a particular computer across the internet or delete some or all of your data. A virus will in general not kill your computer right away as it needs your computer to work for the virus to spread. Other viruses turn your computer into a lean mean email sending machine that will spam the world or your friends with buy my junk emails or just another version of the virus.
Make sure that you have an up to date antivirus or you will leave yourself and your friends open to infection. I see people every week with an out of date antivirus or none at all that tell me “I have never had a virus” but they would not know as they have nothing to let them know.