How Do You Identify Computer Viruses?


Quick Answer

To identify a computer virus, use Windows Defender, the built-in protection software in Windows Vista and newer versions, and perform a quick, full or custom scan. Once the scanning process completes, let the program remove the virus automatically, or remove it manually. If Windows Defender cannot identify the virus, use third-party antivirus or antimalware software, such as AVG AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

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Full Answer

To start Windows Defender, access the search function, type “defender” in the search field, and click on Windows Defender. Once the screen appears, click on the arrow next to the Scan option, and select the desired type of scan from the drop-down menu. Click on the Scan link to start the process, and analyze the information regarding the virus once Windows Defender identifies it. The duration of the scanning process depends on the scan type, the number of files on the computer and the processor’s speed.

To identify viruses and other malicious software via AVG AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, download the free versions from Avg.com and Malwarebytes.org, respectively, and install them. After starting the programs, update the necessary databases, and initiate the scanning process. In Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, select the Threat Scan option to scan the personal files and system folders thoroughly. Once the scanning is complete, the software displays the name, type and location of the detected threat, allowing you to quarantine or ignore it.

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