What to Do if a Virus Attaches to Your Computer's Memory

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Get rid of memory bugs before they do larger damage.

Viruses are one of the major pitfalls of computer usage. Viruses can do everything from create minor annoyances through advertisements to wiping your entire hard drive, causing you to lose your files. When a virus attaches itself to your memory, it affects your RAM -- Random Access Memory -- which is essentially the short-term memory of your computer. If you think a virus is downloaded into your computer's memory, don't panic. A standard virus scanner should be able to remove the virus before it can do serious damage.

  1. Memory Viruses

    • A virus that affects your computer's memory attaches itself to your computer's RAM. The RAM is responsible for retrieving temporary files and information that are removed when the computer is turned off. Theoretically, a memory virus shouldn't be able to affect your computer's performance after you shut down your computer, since it's removed with the other temporary files on your computer. Unfortunately, some memory viruses are engineered to reinfect when you power your computer up by storing the virus in your hard drive, where it can re-download each time you start your computer back up again.

    SIgns of a Virus

    • If your computer is harboring a virus, you'll notice the issues first in your computer's functionality. Often viruses are meant to display ads or redirect your searches to advertising pages, which is easy to notice when using your computer. Some of the other symptoms might be harder to diagnose, such as limited functionality, slower-than-normal speed or new files appearing in your computer's directories. All of these are signs that a virus is downloaded on your computer. Whether you have a memory virus or a virus on your hard drive, the symptoms are the same.

    Scanning Your Computer

    • Virus files are often difficult to find, especially because they often mimic the names and extensions of files you already have saved on your hard drive or in your computer's memory. Your best bet is a program that scans your computer's memory for known viruses to remove them completely. Mcafee, Norton, Avira and Spybot are all antivirus brands that also can scan your computer for viruses to remove them quickly. It's best to scan your computer as soon as you suspect a virus to limit the damage done or information transferred through a virus.

    Lingering Issues

    • Some memory viruses are so new that your antivirus program might not detect them right away. Always ensure that you have the latest updates for your software for the best chance of removing the virus. If it still doesn't work, try a supplementary program such as Norton Power Eraser for a more aggressive search and destroy approach. If scanning your hard drive and memory doesn't seem to remove the virus, power down your computer and take it to a computer technician for the best results in saving your computer.

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