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Totally compromised VISTA machine

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First I have to say it...VISTA is evil. It took windows to new levels of hairpulling.

which brings me HERE

I am totally unfamiliar with it. My mother's machine. The 4th bought in 2 years...same problems...

Though I ask her to let me check the virgin machine before it goes internet even once...no such luck. Her browse happy roomate usually said "it's fine " to gain access.

So before the servicepack was even loaded it has 4 toolbar BHO's Limewire AOL , various games, opposing firewall systems and who knows what hidden things. It had a virus alert ONCE, she said. The first week she had it. And her roomate went to various "risque/eewww" sites post haste.

It is buggy, freezes, and has compromised her bank and email in my opinion (she has had strange things happen. I had two tickets to Al Jeezheera ailines in my account trying to pay my aol on her machine. coincidence? think not)
I cannot open task manager, dos or any other areas to check registry . And most updates fail including Service pack 1.

Backdoor trojan? or malware.

It is a compaq presario c502us Notebook bought last summer(her 5 month old PC is already done in too). It has IE as browser but hijacked by competing toolbars. Usually websearch wins over mapquest. I can't disable any of them in settings no matter how I mark the box. The firewall went out of date but no new one will load successfully.

Without ability to figure which programs are paid with or without backup disc and which are to be erased..how am I going to zero out this machine to start over without losing the operating system. This unit was acquired from a rent to own place and they did not supply her with a boot disk or proper serial numbers.
We have a Vista machine here. My hunny has an Dell Inspiron 1750. But the Vista is office i think ( he now is in love and kiped the 5 yr old white ibook with Tiger). Hers is licensed to her, Vista Basic (6.0). the machine has 70 gb with supposedly half available though it gets "not enough hd space" messages.
I want to back up the hard to replace programs (she recently moved near to me but her main body of stuff is stored 3000k away til Sep). Maybe even Fdisk or stronger. I don't want a back up of the culprit.

I'd love to load HiJack This!, but they have no Vista version I can find. Plus the malware will likely prevent it. It has prevented install of the newest Norton, of PC tools update, Ms updates and Mcafee.

I am near tearing my hair. It just is not right that something recently bought over a thousand bucks (excluding interest payments) is a slow pig that freezes, crashes and outright fails leaving us to use my 10 year old clamshell for important stuff.

I bet the world could get nuked and there, weeks later in the smoking ruins, you'll find a Microsoft loaded laptop... and instead of picking it up? You'd leave it and just pick up a nice USEFUL rock instead-because it is STILL loading updates!

If there is a good vista-compatible removal tool.... who makes it!?
And Newer owners have an option for 45 more days to "downgrade" to XP for free?
That sure is looking good!
(yes the shift key is sticky..gee the poor thing is getting used hard and no service lately)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions (
except the incinerator.... been suggested already)
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