I changed the permissions back to what would get me around. At first, I couldn't do anything, even though I'm the only user on the computer and I'm an administrator. Even when I got the permissions back, every button that had an administrator shield wouldn't work; it would freeze the process and I'd have to task-manage my way out of it. When THAT happened, the screen would flash, and NOTHING would open until I restarted the computer. I restarted in safe mode, turned off the UAC to zero, and now I can navigate those buttons.
Running Windows 7 on a personally built desktop PC. It all started when I tried to download Skype, but inadvertently clicked on a pseudo-Skype site and downloaded who knows what. Uninstalled whatever showed up on the list but noticed:
1. My internet favorites were gone. They were still in the folder, but weren't showing up in my browser, and could never figure out how to get them back.
2. Default settings in Word started coming back.
So I got McAfee Total Protection, downloaded it, and it said it found nothing. The next day, all of my folders were empty! No pictures, no documents, nothing! So I restored the system to before, which took out McAfee, and it seemed fine.
Well, I'm using this computer in a network, and tried to change permissions on my personal folder. When I did this, everything screwed up. A list of the problems:
1. Black background. Desktop wallpaper does not work, even though it says it's on a saved theme.
2. Icons missing. Word, OneNote, iTunes, all have a generic "windows" icon.
3. Libraries are gone. The icons for Documents, Music, Pictures, Podcasts, and Videos are different, and clicking on them does nothing. When I right click to go to properties, it says, "The properties for this item are not available." I can still get to these files through clicking on my C: drive, though.
4. Internet browsers don't work. They just stay blank and don't navigate, even though I'm online (which I know from trying to download a new antivirus... speaking of which...).
5. Can't download anything. It freezes during the download process.
6. Can't do system restore. It too freezes during initialization.
7. Can't re-install Windows. It says "The unattend answer file contains an invalid product key."
8. iTunes won't play. Click on a song, double-click, it just sits there doing nothing.
9. Anything I start or open pretty much has to be aborted through task manager.
10. CCleaner freezes.
11. Can't uninstall anything, it freezes.
I've backed up the files I need to an external, so I'm pretty much willing to do what it takes to get this thing up and running again. But nothing works.