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PC freezes, links won't open

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Windows XP, I have all my updates. When I click on the "Search" option it doesn't open, opening some other programs is very slow, or they just freeze, and when I click on a link from a webpage or post on a message board, it won't open.

I ran McAfee which found some viruses/trojans/worms and I cleaned/deleted/quarantined them. I ran Spybot. Because of my problem I couldn’t install Ad-aware or any of the other programs suggested here. I deleted a lot of adware from the "Add/Remove Programs" and the "Manage Add-ons."

If my problem was caused by a virus, Trojan, worm, or other malware, and I’ve cleaned them all, if they have already done their harm, how do I know which virus, trojan, or worm did what, and how do I fix it?
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