I posted this in the malware section a little over a week ago, but have gotten no responses. I'm posting here as this may now be an OS issue.
About a month ago, my wife’s computer (running XP) started having performance problems and she started getting a lot more internet popups. I found that I had let her virus protection expire, so I started bringing things up to date. I installed Avira AntiVir, disabled Norton, and scanned. Lots of ‘stuff’ was found and removed. I then installed Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and ran a deep scan which found ~50 items it was able to quarantine. Next, I installed Comodo Firewall and disabled the Windows Firewall. After cycling through the scans and rebooting a few times, the system seemed to be running much better. However, over the next few days I became suspicious of twex.exe as either Avira or Malwarebytes would occasionally flag it. Avira is running every night, so I’d kick off Malwarebytes every couple days and things would seem to go back to normal.
I was going to ask for help at that point, but I wanted to follow the ‘malware cleaning guide’ first. So about a week ago, I installed and ran ATF Cleaner which cleared out a bunch of stuff, System Restore, and ERUNT. I reran Malwarebytes and I seem to recall that it found a few items, but I can’t recall what. I then downloaded the install files for Hijack This, but did not install and run as I wanted to see if the issues were resolved.
When I checked the system yesterday (1/30) evening, the screen was blank and the light on the CD drive was flashing roughly every second. I couldn’t get it to come back using the keyboard, so I held the power button. After ~10 seconds, I restarted. After a minute or so, I kicked off Avira which triggered a reboot. Each time I tried running Avira, Malwarebytes, or install Hijack This, the system rebooted, but ATF Cleaner ran fine. So I tried to boot in safe mode. Holding F8 didn’t give me the menu, so I set it through msconfig. Ever since, I can’t get XP to launch. What have I done? Help! …please.