What is a Computer Virus and How to Protect Your Computer from Viruses

Dave updated on Sep 22, 2022 to Knowledge Center


Have your computer started behaving strangely? Is something constantly popping out on your screen, or is your computer getting frozen for no reason? If yes, chances are higher that a virus might attack it.

The world of technology has grown quite vast. Whether it is about shopping or it's about billing, we all make use of computer systems to do all things ideally. So it feels very annoying when our computer systems suddenly stop working because a computer virus infects them. 

A computer virus is malicious software that spreads among computers and causes damage to the data and software stored in them. These disrupted systems are the primary reasons behind the significant operational issues. Whether it is about leakage or data loss, computer viruses are one of the primary reasons behind the same. The computer viruses are usually attached to an executable host file that works behind the execution of their viral codes in an opened file. Once the file is opened, the code spreads across the software documents through drives, file-sharing programs, networks, or infected email attachments.

How Do Computer Viruses Spread

Computer Virus Spread

There are different methods for computer viruses spreading. They may spread through networks, discs, email attachments, external storage devices like USB sticks, DVDs, etc. The connections between the computers were quite limited in older times, which is the same reason infected floppy disks initiated the majority of the times, the spreading of computer viruses. The main three methods behind the computer virus spreading are:

1. Infected email attachments

Keep in mind that computer viruses don't spread through text-only emails, but if these emails include some attachments or clickable files, they may serve behind the spreading of the virus. Whenever these attachments or clicks are opened up, your computer starts downloading the related information immediately, which results in the infection of your computer system.

2. USBs & External hard drives

Removable media like USB flash drives or external hard drives also serve as the most prominent reason behind the computer virus spreading. The virus is generally applied when a hacker attaches a virus to a program, and you install that infected program on your computer system.

3. Internet Downloads

Installation of new files from the internet can also serve as the reason for computer viruses spreading. Files like freebie downloads, free virus protection, free software trials, torrent downloads, or streams may include different types of computer viruses.

Common Types of Computer Viruses

As we live in the internet era, internet-enabled devices or tools can effectively bring you malware or virus infections. But unfortunately, not all computer viruses are the same. So, if you are eager to know about the computer virus in detail, here we are with the five most common types of computer viruses.

1. Resident Virus

These computer viruses usually propagate through the infecting applications on a host computer. These viruses infect the files the executable files opened by the users.

2. Multipartite Virus

This virus spreads through multiple methods. The virus remains in the computer's memory, infecting the hard disk and spreading through more drives, files, and folders. It alters the content of applications and results in lagging performance and slow speed.

3. Direct Action

These computer viruses get access to the main memory of the computers and infect all of the programs, files, or folders on the same device. It alters the system's performance and destroys all the data on the computer's hard disk. 

4. Browser Hijacker

As the name describes it well, this computer virus hijacks your computer's web browser and changes its settings. It can replace your browser's homepage and edit the new tab page. The same doesn't affect the files but can effectively cause considerable damage to your computer system.

5. Overwrite virus

It is one of the most dangerous computer viruses that deletes and replaces your data and owns the files. It is pretty hard to replace the files that get infected over here. 

How to Know If Your Computer Has A Virus

A computer virus affects your system's working, performance, and speed. These viruses can be easily discoverable through different symptoms such as:

1. Slow Speed

A slow-running computer system indicates that it is infected with a virus. The same slow down your computer and affects the internet speed and loading speed of applications.

2. Popup windows

Popping up the unwanted windows on your screen is another symptom of your device being attacked by a computer virus. 

3. Self-executing programs

If some programs of your computer system are unexpectedly closing, the chances are higher than it has been infected with some virus or malware. 

4. Device's crashing

Computer viruses may crash the systems unexpectedly. It affects the computer's functionality and lets it work in storage, including opening files as their own and playing unusual error messages. 

5. Sending mass emails from your account

In case several emails have been sent from your computer systems, but you haven't done it, the chances are pretty higher that you have become a witness of a cyberattack or virus attack.

What Does A Virus Do to Your Computer

Computer viruses can harm your programs badly. These viruses can easily replicate themselves and make it impossible for you to perform. The three significant risks associated with the computer virus are:

  • Deletion of files
  • Corrupt programs and system files
  • Damaged hard drive
  • Inaccessible boot device

How to Protect Your Computer from Viruses

An unprotected computer is an open invitation for computer viruses. Therefore, you must arm your computer system with information and resources against security threats. You can take on the following protection to keep your computer safe from viruses.

  • Use antivirus or firewall protection
  • Install antispyware software
  • Beware of using questionable websites
  • Keep our antivirus protection and antispyware protections updated
  • Make sure to update your operating system regularly
  • Make sure to use only the trustable websites for downloading

How to Get Rid of A Virus on Your Computer

1. Use Windows Security

Windows Security Threat Protection

Windows Security is one of the most powerful scanning tools that effectively scan, find and remove the computer virus from your system. The tool works as:

  • Launch your Windows Security settings and then use the Virus & Threat Protection option.
  • Tap on the Scan options followed by the Windows Defender Offline Scan option.
  • The next thing you have to do is tap on the Scan Now option to go further with the process.
  • It will take about 15 minutes for the Windows Defender Offline scanner to run, and once it's done, it will restart your computer system.
  • Now open your Windows Security settings and then go to the Virus & Threat Protection followed by Protection history to check whether the computer virus has been removed ideally or not.

2. Use third-party antivirus software

Antivirus Software works amazingly great for protecting your computer system from virus attacks. You can easily use any of the third-party antivirus software available in the market for the same.

3. Contact Service Professionals

Suppose you already have done with the above two options and don't have any reliable solution for your problem. In that case, you can contact service professionals to get absolute and instant help without failure.

There are many ways to get rid of viruses on laptops. If you want to learn more effective ways, check out the article about how to remove virus from computer for more details! 


So, guys! Hopefully, you have complete information about computer viruses and how to remove them. The virus affects your computer system's overall functioning, performance, and speed. It damages your data files and folders and can also cause permanent deletion of the related files. If you find any computer virus issues, remove them immediately to enable absolute functioning. 

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