First and foremost, you need XP Service Pack 2! Go to http://www.microsoft.com click on "Windows Update" on the left side then click "Express Install" to install the latest security updates including Service Pack 2.
Here are some tips, to reduce the potential for spyware infection in the future, I strongly recommend installing the following applications:
Ewido Security Suite <= Protection against Trojans, Worms, Dialers, Hijackers, Spyware, and Keyloggers.
Detect and Remove Programs:
- How to use Ad-Aware to remove Spyware <= If you suspect that you have spyware installed on your computer, here are instructions on how to download, install and then use Ad-Aware.
- How to use Spybot to remove Spyware <= If you suspect that you have spyware installed on your computer, here are instructions on how to download, install and then use Spybot. Similar to Ad-Aware, I strongly recommend both to catch most spyware.
- Spywareblaster <= SpywareBlaster will prevent spyware from being installed.
- Spywareguard <= SpywareGuard offers realtime protection from spyware installation attempts.
- MVPS Hosts file <= The MVPS Hosts file replaces your current HOSTS file with one containing well known ad sites etc. Basically, this prevents your computer from connecting to those sites by redirecting them to 127.0.0.1 which is your local computer
- Google Toolbar <= Get the free google toolbar to help stop pop up windows.
- Firewall<= A firewall is definitely a must have. Three good free versions are Sygate, Kerio, and ZoneAlarm.