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Possible Virus Stopped Anti-Virus Working

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I think I have a virus but I'm not entirely sure. Get comfortable this is a long story.

So a few days ago Norton anti-virus was trying to scan my computer. I don't have Norton I never have I haven't accidentally downloaded it or anything it was just there.

So I thought thats not right I better get rid. I tried to go to add/remove programs to uninstall it but the list wouldn't populate. Then the window froze.

Then windows explorer froze, the start menu and the bar at the bottom don't work. Task manager wont work either.

No programs will run except for some reason firefox. When I click on a program to open it the egg timer appears but when it dissappears the window doesn't open.

I have Avast anti-virus and tried to set it scanning the computer but I don't know if you are familliar with Avast when it starts up it scans all the programs you have running well mine gets to soemthing called: sshnass.dll and freezes. There is a skip memory test button which I tried to get into the proper scan but that did nothing.

So I tried to restart the computer but it didn't work. Programs all shut down then it just stayed on the background picture forever.

I turned the computer off planning to restart in safe mode to do the virus scan. But it wouldn't let me, I pressed F8 during start up and the menu came up but only gave me the option to boot from a disk.
So I went into set up to add the safe mode option but it wasn't there to add.
There also wasn't the option to restore the system to an earlier working version.

So I tried to do the system restore from the start menu and actually managed to get there before the start menu froze. But when I clicked on system restore the egg timer appeared but the window never opened as described earlier.

I don't know what to do. My brother insists that the only thing I can do is uninstall windows. But thats really the last thing I want. I have an assesment due in this week which I currently can't get to. Computer trouble is not accepted as an excuse for not handing in your work.

I don't have the windows CD because I move house ruffly four times a year and would lose it but I can probably get it posted to me if I need it.

Is there anything I can do?
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