Have you noticed your computer running slow all of a sudden? Read on to see if spyware could be the cause, and how to deal with it.
There are many different reasons for a computer running slowly, and often people can find simple solutions to the problem. But what about when it happens suddenly, and when everything else has been done to maintain PC speed? In some cases this can be a telltale sign of spyware.
Designed to collect private information off a computer, spyware is a type of malware that can be installed accidentally when a user downloads and installs other software. Often hidden from the user, spyware will gather information about internet interaction, passwords and other valuable, private information on the computer.
As well as impacting on a person's privacy, this malicious software can wreak havoc on computer functions. It can affect computer performance in any number of ways, such as:
- Changing computer settings
- Installing additional, unwanted software
- Redirecting web browser searches and changing browser settings
- Reducing internet connection speed; and
- Disrupting network connection ability
A helpful guide on the PC Tools website also notes that Spyware can also function as adware and deliver unsolicited pop-up ads onto the computer. This guide also warns people against assuming legitimate downloads will be free of spyware.
"Spyware authors have been known to pay shareware developers to bundle their spyware with the legitimate software as well as simply repackaging freeware and bundling it with their own spyware," it says.
Detecting and Removing Spyware
As PC World has previously reported, a computer running slow is often an indication of spyware, commonly showing up before other signs of the infection. However, there will probably be more than one indicator, and users should check to see if any of the changes mentioned above are also occurring.
An antivirus program should also be able to detect spyware that has been downloaded, but if you don't already have one installed then Microsoft has also developed a number of Windows tools, like Microsoft Security Essentials and the Malicious Software Removal Tool to help combat this type of infection. There are also a number of free antivirus programs that effectively detect spyware, like Avira AntiVir and Avast Antivirus.
Using these tools should remove the spyware from your system, but if you are still unsure about the speed of your computer, it could be worthwhile to consider a spyware specific program like Spyware Doctor or a more advanced antivirus program such as Norton 360 or Panda Global Protection. With these measures in place you should be able to remove and prevent spyware from slowing down your computer any more.
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