While researching my issue, I found the following post on this site:http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/lof...php/t61511.html
That describes almost exactly my problem, but none of the solutions listed worked. But let me start from the beginning.
I have a slow several-years-old IBM clone, Windows 2000, IE Explorer 6, the current Firefox (I use both about equally), web-based email, 56k dial-up connection (no broadband available where I live). Just a couple months ago I got a new primary hard drive and fresh installation of Windows 2000 after some previous registry issues eventually caused my computer to mostly crash.
Figuring it was mostly because of spyware or a virus, I downloaded the current free versions of Spybot and AVG but didn't use them right away. Odd thing is, everything worked good until I actually started using Spybot and AVG this past weekend (I had noticed some random IE popups showing up even when I wasn't even using IE Explorer 6, which has a Google Popup Blocker anyway, so I figured that was some Spyware issue and it was time to use Spybot and AVG). I used them Saturday night. I used the computer perfectly fine on Sunday (I reboot every day), only visited well-known commercial websites like Yahoo and my email provider (had no email worth opening). Monday, it was another story. Weird minor flickering during final Windows boot-up, then tried to go to internet and discovered my dial-up connections had been wiped out, including "Make a new connection." Tried to establish a new connection using indirect route, and got "icwconn1.exe has generated errors and will be shut down by Windows" on the page where the access number/country info is -- have gotten this continuously since, so I can't connect to the internet through Windows with that computer anymore, not even in safe mode with networking.
Also, all my program files are hidden from me and I can't unhide them (it says there are 30-something objects in the folder but shows nothing). There's also nothing listed in the add/remove programs area. And I can't copy/paste anything using Windows anymore -- I can copy/paste in the command prompt, though my DOS is very rusty and I can't remember how to copy entire directories, but I have been able to copy supposed fixes from removable disks to the hard drive. For more exact description of my problems, read that other BC post through link above -- like I said before, that's almost a perfect description of my problem.
So far none of the registry cleaners I've used have fixed the problems and I tried updated Spybot, Adaware and AVG in safe mode to no avail (they do function and remove some stuff, but the main problems persist). People suggested the other guy do a "last good config" but that failed for me because I apparently got the problem on Saturday or earlier, and the computer ran perfectly fine on Sunday, so it was likely already infected or damaged and just biding its time, so by Monday when the problem became evident, the true last good config was gone, and unlike some other versions of Windows, apparently it only saves one configuration.
Some sites have claimed that "icwconn1.exe" can be a virus with a legitimate name -- after all this research I'm certain that it is normally a legitimate Windows file involved in network connections, but now it is either corrupted or perhaps fully viral. It's also possible this is not actually directly a malware issue -- on Saturday AVG supposedly found a virus, and I told it to quarantine it, and Spybot removed a lot of stuff, so I suppose it's possible one or the other accidentally removed or corrupted something I need?
Please help me so I don't have to take my computer back to the shop for another $150 only a couple months after the last trip! Also, are Spybot and/or AVG known to cause such issues or can you get bad copies (although I downloaded both from their makers' sites)? (Which would be ironic, of course.) I had the computer for years with good results using Adaware, but they stopped updating Adaware for that version of Windows, so I tried Spybot, and right after the first use is when a bunch of registry issues showed up that ultimately led to the crash requiring a new hard drive, fresh OS installation (with an upgrade to 2000, which does work with the current version of Adaware) and a trip to the computer shop, where they told me they didn't think it was a virus or malware that caused my problems but somehow my registry got messed up beyond repair by improper removals!