Thirdly, I have downloaded or taken online scans of most of the software and websites you have recommended to others.
Fourthly, and most importantly, I unfortunately have a counterfeit copy of WinXP on this computer, which I bought used from a guy two years ago.
I don't exactly know where to start, except to say I read your guidelines which essentially explained to me that if I didn't have a legitimate copy of XP, I shouldn't bother posting here. And yet, here I am.
Not that it matters to anyone, but I am disabled--supposedly permanently, though I am determined to defeat that diagnosis--and live on less than $350 a month in shared housing. It's a drag, to say the least.
That's why, when I sold something of mine and had a few hundred dollars extra, I jumped at the chance to buy this used computer with all kinds of stuff on it, including WinXP, from a local guy here. In Seattle, used computers are as cheap and as commonplace as wads of gum on the sidewalk, so I figured I was getting a screaming deal.
So for two years I used this computer and at one point, even reformatted the disk and reinstalled from the WinXP disk the guy had given me with it. I downloaded updates from Microsoft and used their firewall. I browsed with IE6 or better (not sure anymore) until I got sick of that and switched to the elegant and highly functional Mozilla Firefox 1.5.
Then, a few weeks ago, I was trying to update something--Windows Media Player, I think--and I got this message from Microsoft informing me that my copy of WinXP was counterfeit. They then proceeded to disable my firewall and all other security measures I had had installed here. This sabotage allowed all kinds of nasty malware to invade my computer.
I did, immediately, go to Microsoft's site to get the details of getting a legitimate license and proper dll and exe files downloaded. There was an option there for a complimentary download for which I felt qualified, but I was also willing to purchase a clean copy. However, none of the links worked--well, first of all, there were no links on the FAQ at all, so I was guided through page after page of useless information and newsgroups, then deposited on the Support page. When I tried to talk to a tech or go to a community forum, Microsoft denied me access and told me I would have to make the phone call and pay $35 to have my problem solved.
Well, this is ironic, since the only reason I even made the move in the first place was because I had been tortured for five years with a buggy, unusable copy of Windows ME, which, in retrospect, caused me so much trouble and lost time, they should be paying ME for what they unleashed on my life with their irresponsibility, and the one time I used support and paid $35 was to be told Microsoft WAS aware of the problems with ME and they had offered fix disks to users who asked for them, but that the time had now expired that obligated them to do so, and thank you very much for the $35 we just took from you to inform you of that....
I understand why so many people hate Microsoft. I used to be supportive. But no more.
So, I'm not willing or able to pay $35 to find out that they won't help me again. I have tried to do the right thing and they have made it impossible. And the fact that they disabled my protections is making my computer more unstable by the day, with so many trojans and backdoors and whatnots flying in from all directions, I cannot even get one thing done, especially if it involves going to Microsoft's site.
There's no way I can pay $150 to legitimize this copy of XP. It's going to be very painful even to buy a copy of XP Home or perhaps used software for $50 to $100, but that is what I'm trying to do. I have now burned copies of every data file I want to save from this HD and am ready to wipe it and reinstall. I even tried using the old XP disk that came with this computer, but of course, that was a no go.
So what's my question? I guess it's a general weeping and gnashing of teeth over this recent turn of events. My Task Manager/Processes/Performance tells me my CPU is running at 100% all the time, and that can't be a good thing.
And as you all know, trying to defeat a trojan is not unlike trying to cut a snake off the head of Medusa. You cut one off and two grow in its place. My trojans are laughing at me and replicating like crazy.
Should I bother to bother you? Should I even continue to seek help here? I guess that's the first thing I need to know. I feel very much stuck in the Twilight Zone here and am quite overwhelmed and unable to make a decision which way to move.
Suggestions would be kindly appreciated.