Hello out there.
I'm on an old Thinkpad X32 running Windows XP Profession version 2002 service pack 3.
A couple of weeks ago while clicking through to a link via Google (nothing fishy--honest), my browser (Chrome, I think) went haywire, suddenly started downloading an Adobe Acrobat file (a pdf) though I hadn't authorized it to, then told me that the Acrobat file was corrupted and couldn't be opened, and then after that I started getting constant messages that I had malware on my computer and should buy a program to remove it. Looking this up on my girlfriend's computer (my computer wasn't letting me get online), I learned that this was the XP Antivirus 2012 Malware, as described here:
I read about it and then hoped it would go away. And, amazingly, it did go away! I am no longer getting those messages on my computer and I'm able to get online again.
However, my computer is acting strangely when I'm online. My CPU usage spikes up to 100% and stays there, especially when I'm using something that requires some power like gmail. The other thing is I'm getting misdirects whenever I search for something on Google--that is, I'll click on the link, and the first page it takes me to is not the page I want (there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to where it takes me--sometimes it's some kind of spam site, other times it's a site related to my search but not the site I was clicking for). If I go back and click the same link again, it takes me to the right place. This is true of both Chrome and Firefox.
So far, to be honest, this is merely annoying, rather than debilitating, but I'm worried that something bad is going on and I'd like to take care of it.
Can anyone help? I'm ashamed to say I have no anti-virus software on my computer. (I know, I know--but I've always found antivirus software to really slow computers down, and I hardly ever download anything, and... well, there's no excuse. But, no antivirus, in short.)
Thank you in advance.