This is an ever growing problem for people who use Windows, and more specifically, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express (Windows Media Player is even being targeted to a small degree).
You can use the search box at the top of every page of these forums to search for posts detailing how to clean up spyware. Then, to help keep it off, you need to stop using Internet Explorer. Replace it with something like Mozilla Firefox, and if you use Outlook Express, replace that with Mozilla Thunderbird.
This will buy you maybe two years before spyware authors start exploiting Windows in general, not just IE, and spyware programs come bundled with more and more programs, commercial, freeware, and otherwise. A wise person would use this time to either become comfortable with using Linux, or saving up for a Mac. Microsoft itself is admitting to the fact that very soon it's platform may be hit with spyware that cannot be removed without damaging the OS. The ship is sinking, and Microsoft isn't interested in doing what it takes to save it. So you can either go down with it, or get aboard another ship.
About a month ago, My daughter's computer got very sick. It slowed down to a snail's pace not only online but even all the windows programs offline.
I asked a friend, who is knowlegable of computers, for help. He did some things I'd already tried (scans for virus, clean-up, defrag, system restore),and some things I hadn't.
Nothing helped. He said it seemed like something was running in the background and he couldn't figure out what. Finally. he did a system recovery, re-installed the things that needed to be, ran a couple of windows programs, went to a couple of websites, and Voila! , ok, problem solved.
But no. Over the next days, we found a lot of sites we couldn't go to, a lot of pages we couldn't open, the e-mail is eratic (her AOL and my YAHOO),we can't open windows updates and sometimes internet explorer. These are things we could do before the system recovery, althoughit was verrrry slowwwwly.
We now get an error message like #0x80072EE2 or it saya the site is no longer available or DNS error internet explorer.
Her computer is a compaq presario intel r, With windows XP, service pack 1, (I couldn't get it to install service pack 2 even when it was working right).
If anyone can help I'll dance at your wedding. I can't keep asking my friend for help because he doesn't have the option of refusing.