I have two problems which no one seems to be able to help me with.
Brief background*: I had some sort of virus; don't know what it was. I'm pretty sure it's gone now. Norton and Spybot can't find anything. Norton is current and updated, and I do full system scans every day. I run Spybot at least 2x/week. I use Windows Firewall. Pop-ups are blocked. Also, after all my problems started, I found in a Spybot forum thread a link to a website where you can compare different AVs (some of the top ones) by their giving you a free, no-strings-attached scan. I took full advantage of these scans. None found any viruses. Only one found a (supposed) low- or mid-threat malware, in a folder -- with no file specified. Since this was a free scan, it didn't fix the problem (if there really is one).
I have run checkdisk, which fixed some errors, and I have defragged.
My following two problems remain, and I am 99.9% certain that it's not a hardware problem since the both problems started together.
(1) Any sound that this laptop can possibly make (except keyboard sounds) are static-y sounding.
(2) There is a problem with the display - and here is where I have a difficult time explaining. The only way is to give an example. Here goes: Let's say that six months ago, I went to website "xyz".com and found on the website a photo of "John Smith," and copied "John Smith"'s photo into my Photos folder. Okay. Now, six months later, if I go into my Photos folders, I can still see "John Smith's" photo as it is supposed to appear. However, if I go back to website "xyz".com, and the same exact photo of "John Smith" is there, I might be able to see parts of it exactly as it should appear (such as shirt, background), but other parts (usually the face or other pinkish colors or skin parts such as hands) are blotched with black so as to make the face unrecognizable. It can happen on all kinds of photographs (flowers, sky, etc.). Some other photos - which can even be on the same website - will be as clear as they are supposed to be. (I don't know how to do screenshots.)
Since I don't know what could possibly cause this, I have no idea of what to do or where to turn for help.
Has anyone ever heard anything like this? Any advice will be appreciated.
* Here is more detailed background of my tale of woe, which will better explain why I don't know exactly what happened and what it was that caused these problems.
In mid-December '08, I noticed my laptop running slower and slower. I read somewhere that registry errors could cause this, but my Norton Systemsworks One-Button Checkup never found more than one or two errors. I somewhere found on-line two websites (Uniblue and Registry Booster) which advertised themselves as being able to speed up your computer by cleaning up the registry. Both provided free scans and cleaning of @10 errors. Further errors would only be cleaned by product purchase. (By the way, this all happened before I got Spybot.)
Naive me used both of these free scans, both of which found 500+ errors. Not believing that Norton could miss that many errors, I uninstalled whatever both these sites downloaded.
At about the same time, I started reading about an IE security hole which Microsoft was going to issue a patch to fix. I read that Microsoft would issue the patch on "Wednesday" (which I believe was the 17th). On Wednesday, December 17th, as I was working on my laptop, it suddenly - and with no warning - started to shut down just as if I had clicked on "Start" and "Turn Off Computer. I couldn't stop it.
I don't remember if it rebooted itself, or if I had to reboot it, but when it was rebooted, there was a balloon above the taskbar with the message that "Microsoft needed to install an important security fix [or patch or something] which necessitated rebooting [my] computer." The balloon and message seemed legit.
Another thing that happened around the same time was that the commercial network through which my personal-use laptop receives its internet connection contracted a virus.
It was around this time that the video display problems started, and also the audio problems because the sound became
static-y. This happens with material directly from the internet and also from music stored in my laptop.
I didn't use my laptop too much until, on December 23, 2008, I tried to play some Christmas music through Windows Media Player (music that I have stored in my laptop), and no sound came out. I went to Control Panel/Sounds and Audio Devices, and was horrified to find that the properties box showed that no audio files were installed!!! *eek*
A friend told me about Best Buy's Geek Squad, which I called. The tech downloaded new audio files directly from Sigma Tel , which got the sound going again, but it was still static-y. He said there was nothing he could do. He downloaded CCleaner for me. He seemed to have no understanding about the display problem. I wasn't really happy with the service.
Well... at least I could listen to some static-y Christmas music...
After the holidays, I found other on-line tech support from a link in the on-line PC Magazine website. (I'm handicapped, and it is nearly impossible for me to bring my laptop anywhere.) The tech seemed to do 1,001 diagnostic things to my laptop online, tweaked a whole bunch of things, downloaded Spybot for me, etc. Although I remain pleased with their service, that tech also could not explain the static-y sound nor the display problem.
Thank you for any help you can give.
Edited by GemmaRose, 12 March 2009 - 03:52 PM.