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Beware the signs of a potentially malware-infested PC: slower-than-usual performance, the recent occurrence of lots of pop-ups, and other weird issues. If you think your PC may have a malware infection, boot your PC into Microsoft’s Safe Mode. In this mode, only the minimum required programs and services are loaded. If any malware is set to load automatically when Windows starts, entering in this mode may prevent it from doing so. This is important because it can make removing the nefarious files easier since they’re not actually running or active. You may find that your PC runs noticeably faster in Safe Mode.
This could be a sign that your system has a malware infection, or it could mean that you have a lot of legitimate programs that normally start up alongside Windows. If your PC is outfitted with a solid-state drive it’s probably fast either way. But before you do that, delete your temporary files. Doing this may speed up the virus scanning, free up disk space, and even get rid of some malware. If you already had an antivirus program active on your computer, you should use a different scanner for this malware check, since your current antivirus software may not have detected the malware.
Remember, no antivirus program can detect 100 percent of the millions of malware types and variants. There are two types of antivirus programs. You’re probably more familiar with real-time antivirus programs, which run in the background and constantly watch for malware. Another option is an on-demand scanner, which searches for malware infections when you open the program manually and run a scan.