ok, i've had my share and more of spyware over the years, normally i can get rid of it fine. use adaware, and spybot, can identify things needing removal in hijackthis logs, etc etc(just so you know i'm not new at this so you dont need to go through the normal steps of checking if they have this program or that program ). anyway, so my computer starts getting system error notifications popping up here and there, where each time i'd click to get rid of it it would pop back up.
so i figure spyware, do scans, but only find minor normal tracking cookies and the like, and removing them doesnt fix the issue. so i bring up hijackthis, do a scan, and start browsing through...everything looks normal except for two under hklm with basically randomly generated letter/number names saying they were in the system32 folder. check the names on google to make sure i wasnt deleting something important(though i'd never seen them before so i already knew they had to be spyware), sure enough nothing turns up.
so i check them, remove them. scan again to look for more...and theyre back. which is odd, not to say that spyware CANT put itself back on, but i've only had that happen once previously. so do it once more, scan again, sure enough, still there. so i make a mental note of the filenames and go to the system32 folder to see if they were there...nothing by that name in the folder(i have all files visible).
so i decide to try spysweeper on it again(i've heard some mixed reviews on that but when i'd used it previously it worked QUITE well, found some stuff that adaware and spybot wouldnt touch), download and install, go to reboot...windows opens up, and a active desktop hijacker proceeds to change my desktop to inform me that the fbi knows what i've been doing and such .
i go to turn off active desktop, get rid of the annoyance for the moment...unclick the picture it selected for me, delete the picture, apply....a moment later, it reinstalls it and reactivates it. i check the file name, its in my temp folder, so i look in there and...sure enough, nothing again. so i scan with spysweeper, which does find a few extra things but not what i was looking for, then i go into its shields and go to the startup shield to see what all was in my startup list. there, it lists the two files the hijackthis scan turned up, so i deactivate those, apply, and a moment later it tells me they reactivated.
so i restart in safe mode, deactivate them from THERE, check stuff again but dont find anything, reboot normally and proceed to download a norton trial(i'm a poor boy, havent ever had the cash to get good virus protection)....during that i note the fact that the spyware isnt doing anything anymore, i appear to have stopped it for the time being. discover that apparently i've already used a norton trial on this computer, though i didnt recall having done so :/. anyway.
NOW FOR THE ACTUAL ISSUE: after all this, knowing that the spyware is still on my system but unable to do anything at the moment, i went to deactivate active desktop(i NEVER use active desktop, i hate it)...but the checkbox to deactivate it is grayed out. check the other places you can deactivate it from, all grayed out. i no longer have the option available for turning off active desktop. would i have to actually get rid of the spyware before i could get the option back, or does anyone know what else i could change in order to get it back? is it something i'd need to change in the registry or some such? i know enough to do whatever changes are needed if told what to do, but i really dont know my way around the registry very well.