I have (to the best of my knowledge) only had a bad computer infection once before - about 3 yrs ago. Then I installed Panda Security which did a great job and I have subscribed to Panda ever since and have even sung its praises to others. About a week ago things started going wrong and my version of Panda Security 2008 seemed unable to cope with it. So I emailed Panda's TechSupport. I'm still waiting for a reply even though I have 'phoned their offices in Bilbao, Spain, on numerous occasions and sent about 50 emails to them by now. It's only possible to speak directly to Customer Service, some of whom only speak Spanish. Despite promises of forwarding my details to TechSupport flagged as 'urgent', still no reply.
I also rang Panda in the USA and the UK but they are separate franchises and refused point blank to offer me any assistance whatsoever. Obviously my loyalty to Panda is decidedly misplaced.
My problem: At first Firefox pages began to open spontaneously - lots of them. Some bore flashing announcements that I had won $50 of free 'phone calls or had a free gift to collect. The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper's web site is my homepage - the usual little square ad on the right of that page for BMW or Citibank was replaced by a flashing announcement that I had won something. Other pages that popped up were just blank Firefox pages with this in the address bar: http://22.214.171.124/dot.gif/?ver=91&c...&br=firefox
The ads have mostly gone, but blank Firefox pages pop up spontaneously still.
For a time Windows Explorer would not open, and if it did, the Search function would not work and I get a message telling me that a component required to run Search is missing and that I may need to run Setup. Sometimes the list of Programs in Start would disappear, but return after I restarted the computer. Also the 'Windows Security Centre' keeps popping up telling me that 'Automatic Updates' has been turned off.
I have run Panda's Scan times too numerous to mention and it reports that it has detected and disinfected spyware and suspicious files every time. However, most of these problems persist.
I really do not want to reformat my computer right now. I'm a high school teacher and it's mid-term. I was planning to do a complete clean in about 5 weeks. Anyway, I need to know what files are corrupted so that I don't re-import them.
Please can anyone point a way forward for me or recommend an anti-virus program that not only works but provides actual technical support.