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Viruses and spyware usually show up on your computer one of two ways. Either they invade your system with a frontal assault like the Huns attacking the Romans, or they sneak in a back door like a cat burglar. Either way, once a virus or piece of spyware gets on your system, getting it off can rate harder than curing a severe case of trench foot! Viruses, malicious programs designed to disrupt normal computing, and spyware, programs intended to literally "spy" on your activities, can enter your computer a number of ways. Most commonly they enter your system through an email attachment, by sharing files with an infected computer by disk, as a "ride along" with a 3rd party program you install, or through a "back door" port in your computer. Regardless of how they get on your system, once in place, they cause no end of headaches and frustration.

The following represent typical signs you may suffer from infection by a virus or piece of spyware. Your computer starts acting oddly by doing things it never did previously. Your modem starts trying to dial out to the Internet without you initiating a surfing session. You notice that files start disappearing, the system stalls, runs slowly, or even crashes frequently.

Your computer takes progressively longer to boot up every time you start it or you notice that your available hard drive space has disappeared. Strange popup windows appear, even when you're not surfing the web, or you delete a program and it "magically" reappears next time you boot the system. If you suspect you a virus or a piece of spyware has invaded your computer, follow these steps to first identify and then delete the offending code: Step 1 - Back up your important files, but remember to scan these files for viruses before reinstalling to avoid accidentally re-infecting your system. Step 2 - Update your anti-virus definitions and perform a scan of your hard drive. If you don't carry virus protection, or you suspect your anti-virus software got corrupted somehow, then log on to www. and use the free Panda Active Scan service to check your hard drive for viruses. Follow the instructions for quarantining and removing the offending files.

Step 3 - Scan your hard drive with an adware, scumware, or spyware detection and removal tool like Adaware or Spybot

Step 4 - In many cases, when the virus or spyware program gets installed with a free utility or game you download from the Web, you must usually uninstall the utility or game to finally get rid of the problem once and for all. Step 5 - Avoid re-infection by keeping your anti-virus and firewall up-to-date at all times. As a last resort, if you run into a program you simply can't get rid of, but can figure out the offending file's name, do a search for the file name on

Often you will find you're not the first victim and may get valuable advice for cleaning up your system. However, be very careful of the information you find and think twice before modifying any system files.

Did you find this article useful? For more useful tips and hints, points to ponder and keep in mind, techniques, and insights pertaining to computer tips, do please browse for more information at our websites.

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