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Desktop folder appears mysteriously

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When Windows started acting funny, I discovered that somehow a folder called "Desktop" had appeared in C:\WINDOWS\PROFILES. It had most of the stuff it should have, but it didn't belong there, and Windows shouldn't have been using it as my PC's desktop. The true folder didn't always appear in the Windows directory - that's what got me upset in the first place.

I use Win98SE. My 80G HD was only formatted two weeks ago. Most of my hardware is under 2 years old, and is pretty up to date. I use W98 because it's my preference.

I found that the true directory was where it belonged. It didn't show in the Windows directory, because Windows had decided to use the other one. I couldn't delete it at first because it was a "system file needed by Windows." Yet it allowed me to change its name. Finally, I succeeded in deleting it, though it did pop up again the next day, this time empty. This time it deleted okay, but now a new directory had appeared as C:\Windows\All Users\[my logon name]\Desktop. And Windows was now using THAT folder for my desktop screen. This time, all it had in it was desktop.ini, which I erased. But I haven't been able to delete the folder. With nothing in it, it still shows all my proper files and folders on the screen, but when I tried to delete it, my screen turned gray. Rebooting will get everything back on the screen, but still using that faux directory for it.

What can I do to delete this folder? I don't know the proper DOS commands. DOS doesn't seem to know the word "delete."

Secondly, what happened? Is this malware? If so, I need some clues as to which one it might be, because most AV programs get only a small chunk of what there is to find. It could take weeks to use every scanner there is.

Is this a known behavior of some kind of malware?

Until I can resolve this problem, my Desktop isn't really my Desktop.

I'll appreciate all the help offered,
Holly B.
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