thanks for your reply. I'm using Vista home premium. Only SAS found something during a scan:
SUPERAntiSpyware Scan Log
Generated 10/30/2010 at 12:34 PM
Application Version : 4.45.1000
Core Rules Database Version : 5786
Trace Rules Database Version: 3598
Scan type : Complete Scan
Total Scan Time : 00:48:46
Memory items scanned : 789
Memory threats detected : 0
Registry items scanned : 13671
Registry threats detected : 0
File items scanned : 52438
File threats detected : 3
media.ign.com [ C:\Users\Chris\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\U8E6RV8S ]
statse.webtrendslive.com [ C:\Users\Chris\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\h1yrtpg1.default\cookies.sqlite ]
.dmtracker.com [ C:\Users\Chris\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\h1yrtpg1.default\cookies.sqlite ]
Now for the good news: earlier in the year I was being helped with a problem from someone on this site. When we reached a point where using safe mode was advantageous I found out that this computer has an issue with safe mode. Once in safe mode, the desktop is frozen. The only thing I can do is ctrl+alt+del, which allows me to reboot at least. When we went through this last time it turned out that the problem was somewhat intermittent, and we left it at that. I believe the alternative was an OS reinstall which sounded unappealing to me.
Soooo, I tried safe mode four times this morning and had a 100% success rate for it being unusable.
That's where I'm at.