I have never seen anything like this before and will do my best to describe. My mother has a little HP mini-notebook with XP home edition. What happens is this: open a system folder, IE8, or google chrome browser and after a minute or so once you try do anything all of a sudden the window (ANY window including google chrome) starts going crazy-meaning, it goes fullscreen then back to normal then back and forth faster and faster. You cannot make it stop except in task manager-IF you can get it to open. Hitting ESC does nothing. Sometimes you can navigate for a few minutes but eventually it starts doing it again. I am no novice at this. I have seen viruses that seize control of your browser and go pop-up crazy. I have seen viruses that block AV company sites and slow down system performance, etc. I have seen hardware failures and software conflicts. I have never seen anything like this. Here's what I have tried based on theories and what has FAILED, utterly:
1) REG errors and system clutter?-fully updated Windows XP, installed CCleaner, ran program. FAIL
2) Conflict with AVG and IE8?-removed AVG and installed AVAST. Scanned system. FAIL
3) Possible touchpad driver problem?-Successfully updated touchpad driver. FAIL
4) Virus/spyware?? (my conclusion)-Installed and ran AVG, AVAST, MALWAREBYTES, HIJACK THIS, and COMBOFIX. Combofix did find and delete a folder it didn't like (no explanation for why provided). I thought I was home free at this point. FAIL FAIL FAIL
This is a really irritating and frustrating problem. I have searched high and low online for similar issues but have found NOTHING that matches this thing. I still feel it's a virus of a nasty variety that even COMBOFIX can't detect but it could be some kind of hardware failure I guess?? A conflict?? The notebook has running for over a year just fine until maybe a month ago. I thought maybe she upgraded to IE8 and that screwed everything up but I've spent 5 hours total on this already and am quite sick of the little notebook at this point. I realize this might should have been posted in the virus or hardware section so please, by all means stick it where it needs to go and let me know what information might be helpful to resolve this annoying issue. The fact that it is so darned annoying leads me to think virus as the system boots and operates perfectly normal until you open a window of any sort. Weird.