You could download AVG anti-spyware (the old ewido) and runs a scan in safe mode and see if finds any malware that might be causing you problem.
directions for safe mode
When my NAV subscription expired, I decided to try Earthlinks Protection Control Center - I've been using it for about a month, and don't like it. The scans seem to take much longer than NAV, the updates and installs take forever and many times will not install. I have not been able to run a full system scan for 2 weeks, it gets to a certain point (of course, I can't tell you what file it is) and just stalls.
I tried a scan from the McAfee website (the free site). I disabled Earthlink PCC, started the scan at around 10PM and it will still running at 11:30 the next morning. Finally, since I needed to use the computer, I just cancelled it.
I've recently installed IE7, and have read here and there that it can cause problems with PC performance. I have Windows XP SP2 on a Dell - Intel Celeron 1.70GHz, 254.5 MB RAM, Hard Drive Capacity 38.2, with 23.7 Free. It's about 4 years old, but still works for my needs - just much slower now!
I purchased today the ZoneAlarm Internet Security package (CompUSA, $20 rebate ending today) after debating heavily between going back to NAV, or switching to McAfee, Kaspersky, or another. It seemed like the ZoneAlarm package was highly rated (especially by users) and that the concensus was that it was much less 'resource hungry' than McAfee or NAV. I hope I don't regret it!
I guess my questions are:
1) Is my inability to scan my computer because of a virus or other malware in my computer or could it be IE7?
2) Any recommendations for a good free scan that I can run before my ZoneAlarm comes, which should be several days?
3) I just would appreciate comments - I'm not computer illiterate, but I am feeling kind of overwhelmed now by the sheer number and types of protection software that are out there. I hope I did right going with ZoneAlarm!