I'm not computer illiterate, but this new bout with spyware has my head spinning. Yesterday, while browsing on Internet Explorer (browser have always used), I got what looked like a normal popup advertisement, except that when I closed it, my computer made that "thinking" noise. . the one it generally makes when downloading, installing, or running something (sorry - I dont know computer lingo well!). A few moments later, 28 icons popped up on my desktop (the usual - Casino, Pornograpy, Insurance, Cigarettes, DVDs,etc) and my tray at the bottom flashed a "Your computer is infected with spyware. Windows will now install the latest anti-virus software . . ." message. I didn't click it, but the software (Spysherriff) was installed anyway. I uninstalled that program and ran AdAware, and it caught 70 some-odd occurrences that I proceeded to delete. AdAware informed me there was one (I can't remember which, but it was a .dll) that couldn't be deleted; Would I like to have AdAware remove it after the next reboot? I selected yes and restarted my system. AdAware loaded and I deleted what I thought was the last malignant file - but alas, my problems were just beginning.
Now I cannot access my desktop. I can get to the desktop, but it's all locked up- I can't select anything, and the Start menu has a permament hour-glass icon whenever I move the mouse down there. This happens every time I restart my computer - I can sign into my Administrator account, and SpySherriff will run, but nothing else. I can cancel Spysherriff, but everything remains locked. I have done end-task on every program I don't recognize, but the desktop remains inaccessible. I've rebooted in Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Command Prompt, Last Known Good Configuration, even VGA Mode - they're all the same. SpySherriff is all that indicates my computer is even working anymore. I have read your postings on what to do if you suspect adware or spyware, but I can't DO any of that stuff on my computer - I can't get on the internet or reach the control panel or anything. It's just all locked up.
Is there anything I can do? I realize without having access to my computer's files, there probably isn't much hope, but I don't have any real idea. I'm more than willing to reformat my computer, but there are several files I would like to back up before doing that. . any chance of that happening?
Thanks. If I'm breaking any protocols on this site with my post or way in which I'm posting, I apologize. I'm just (like everyone who goes through this kinda thing, doubtless) pretty frustrated and confused.