Consumers always want to know how to tell if they have a virus running in the background they do not know about. Some common warning signs are listed below, but there is no sure fire bet to determining if you have a virus or not without a professional software program. There are a lot of websites out there that will let you run a free scan of your PC to determine if you have any issues, however, most of these sites will want you to then purchase their software. Do not spend your money. There are some common warning signs that can help you determine your risk.

1. PC Running SLOW

Does your PC seem to be running slower than normal? Does it seem to have a delay from when you click on a button to when the PC responds? If so, you might have something running in the background you do not need or want. Check your memory usage as you should not be using much while idling. If it seems rather high, call a professional. They can help determine which programs are using your memory and if you need a potential upgrade or virus removed.

2. Pop Up Alerts and Security Warnings

This is one of those sure fire signals you have a virus. While Microsoft does have security warning pop ups, these pop ups will not ever go away. You have clicked on them in every way way and it just keeps doing the same thing. (By the way, it was a bad idea to click on them ... but the damage is already done). What do you do now? Call for help. Get a professional in to check your entire hard drive and remove all signs of the virus. These can often be removed quickly and with little disruption.

3. Changed Settings

You notice that your normal desktop setting has changed and no one seems to know how they changed. Does your internet browser only go to one website which is not your home page? If so, you are likely to have a virus. DO NOT download any software or purchase the software that they are firing will help remove the virus from your PC. Call a professional. Do not use your PC until a Professional has done a clean sweep of registry files and all to ensure the virus has been removed.

In today's world, most people refer to anything that is going wrong with their PC as having a virus. Remember, there are viruses, Trojans, worms, pests, and so on. Each of these is a issue that needs a professional to help safe guard your PC. Using an off-site backup of your programs and documents is a great way to help protect your information. In case a virus does infect your PC, you know that with a simple click of the mouse, you can retrieve all your information without worry. Another bonus of having a backup is being able to access your information from anywhere.

Viruses are always changing and getting smarter. There is not a for sure way to determine you have a virus without the right software. However, using the warning signs above can give you a head start in safe surfing on the Internet.