The most incisive of nerds say that when your PC's down with a virus, you should go get a goddamn antivirus program. *Nervous chuckle*
Seriously though, a good AV is enough to save your PC. What you should be more concerned of is this: How do you know if your rig's infected?
We list down below the tell-tale signs that your computer is infected by malware. Check them out and see if yours needs a little bit of digital cleaning.
1) Pop-ups galore!
Pop-ups, those super annoying windows that suddenly pop out of nowhere (hence, the name), are a normal part of the Internet. They usually advertise something and appear maybe once or twice during your daily online session depending on the sites you visit.
However, if your dose of pop-ups suddenly shoots up that you'd want to do this:
...then your PC is in trouble. The culprit could be a malicious adware program that causes your browser to constantly visit certain sites.
Another sign: when the pop-ups are all about shady deals (i.e. like how you can increase the size of your peenor in three easy steps). This kind of malware is usually hooked to an external site that commands it to generate more advertising or even make you click, accidentally or otherwise. Whatever happens, if you encounter one, don't click, unless you're sure it's legit.
2) Despite having awesome hardware, your PC is as slow as your grandpa
The speed of your rig can be attributed to many factors. However, if you've done all the steps (e.g. hardware compatibility, the number of programs, updated specs) to ensure everything's zippety-fast and your PC's operation is still slowing down to a crawl, then it might be infected.
Remember, viruses can affect a system in different ways, including making it needlessly work harder. For example, there are viruses that will duplicate your files, increasing the load on your disc bit by bit thereby slowing it down.
They can also affect vital system operations and, if they do, render your hardware useless—and that's no matter how drool-worthy it may be.