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Not sure if this is a subjective question.

Suppose I encountered an unexpected behavior in the operating system, e.g. random shutdowns, rendering issues, software crashes etc: I know a lot of known bugs can be found on the Internet, but how about if I can't? Should I treat the unexpected behavior(s) (possibly many) as software bugs which unfortunately happened to appear on my computer, or should I start thinking whether my computer has been hacked and those strange behaviors are due to malware attacks?

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    Is it a single application that often crashes, or lots of different applications?What system are you running? Is there a reason you haven't run a virus scanner?
    – RoraΖ
    Apr 27, 2017 at 14:19
  • @RoraZ I just want to think about the general case, not just a specific operating system. Those unexpected behaviors may not appear often. Also, even if a virus scanner doesn't report any findings, we can't conclude that the system is entirely safe. Apr 27, 2017 at 14:29
  • There are a lot of factors involved in erratic behavior; the specifications of your system (CPU, RAM, Video card, etc), how many programs you're running simultaneously, and cooling efficiency can all lead to erratic behavior. A general case really doesn't suit the question, imho.
    – RoraΖ
    Apr 27, 2017 at 15:36
  • I'd be more inclined to suspect a driver issue, especially if it started shortly after an update of the OS or drivers, or new devices/components in the computer.
    – Ben
    Apr 27, 2017 at 15:40

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Good question! Indeed such behavior is quite common. I usually use the same computer for a while so I can spot the differences. I first check whether I have too many tabs open in the browser so that the computer gets slowed down and some features stop working.

The next thing I check is whether I run the computer for too long in adverse circumstances. When you forget to shut down the PC over night some processes may run amok already. I open the Task Manager and look up the processes currently running causing the most load.

Also during summer watching videos or playing games may lead to overheating and random malfunctions. When you put your laptop on the bed or couch it may overheat too because the ventilation is blocked.

The third thing I check is whether it's malware. I usually run a reliable tool like MalwareBytes AntiMalware. I also look up in CCleaner to see whether there are some strange items added to autostart. Of course these techniques apply to Windows.

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