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How does spyware affect your PC?

Your PC may be infected with spyware or adware if it is exhibiting any of the following symptoms listed below.

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Slow computer (low on memory or resources)

A sudden change in how your computer is running could be a sign of spyware or adware. There are several reasons your computer may be running slow.  Spyware, trojans and other related programs contact other computers, using system resources such as CPU cycles, memory and an Internet connection bandwidth. Use the following information to improve the system resources and performance of your PC.

» Improving the Performance of Your Notebook PC
» HP Desktop PCs - Increasing System Resources and Performance Without Adding Memory

Your PC seems to have a mind of its own

Are CD drives opening and shutting, or programs opening and closing?

Is your hard drive whirling away when you're not doing anything?

Is there an unknown icon in your Windows system tray (lower right corner of your screen)?

If you have an external modem, there may be lights blinking indicating data transfers when you're not doing anything online. These are all signs a program may be up to no good in the background.

Pop-Up adds appear even when you are not online

Pop-up ads from spyware software are designed to look like they've been served up by a legitimate website. As a result, you may not recognize them as a symptom of infection. There's no way to be sure. But if the contents of the ad seems strange, or if you're getting pop-up ads when you're not even surfing the Internet, it's very likely that they are being served up by spyware software.

E-Mail Symptoms

If you're getting a lot of bounced back mail and see evidence of e-mails being sent without your knowledge, then it's possible trojan spamware has found its way onto your computer. Spamware is a trojan that can turn your computer into a spam launching pad and create headaches for unknowing computer users, especially if a virus is sent. Even if your computer is not being used to send spam, trojans can steal a copy of your e-mail address book and send it back to a spammer.