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Generally, it is not possible for viruses to cause direct physical damage to your computer. However, they can cause information stored on the hard disk to be lost, monitor your computing activities, and/or make applications function improperly.

They can also put stress on some parts of the computer by causing them to work more frequently, like the hard disk, processor, and variable-speed fans. Individuals without the adequate removal ability may have to pay a professional to remove the virus.

Probably the most significant possibility for a virus to actually cause damage to computers is if it improperly re-formats their hard disks. Computers which run less commonly used operating systems (like Mac OS, Linux, or DOS) tend to have reduced susceptibility to viruses.