If you see visual changes that are not built into Windows...I would suspect that malware is at work...still.
Network Cable Unplugged...can result from either a wireless or wired modem being present, but lacking drivers. But I would not expect the status to change to anyting indicating that the cnnection was capable of working properly.
Have you tried setting the Internet connection up anew, using the Internet/Network Connection Wizard?
Edited by hamluis, 07 August 2009 - 06:47 PM.