My next move was to call the family member who said they had run into a similar problem in recent months. They put it in safe mode, removed some processes from the startup, deleted some registry entries and then proclaimed it cured. At this point, files had been "recovered," though many, if not all, were faded (I discovered that they were marked as hidden). I immediately installed McAfee and somehow my wife doubled it up with Avast. McAfee has found nothing since day one, while Avast identifies a network threat about every 5-10 minutes. Usually it is a web address that some hidden program is trying to access. The two specific addresses I remember included coolsearchnow.com and iphonepuma.com. If I remember correctly it said the source was explorer.exe. The computer itself seems a bit slow, though running two av progs simultaneously may have a bit to do with that.
I have since removed McAfee from the computer to solely run Avast. I also downloaded and ran MalewareBytes. In a quick scan, it found 1 file: C:\Users\Sarah\Downloads\Setup.exe (PUP.Bundle.Installer.OI) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully. Subsequent scans showed clean. Since then, Firefox's minimize, maximize, and close buttons have ceased working and Chrome's tabs close when you try to click to them.
I have also tried restoring to factory settings, but every step I take in that process ends up at a dead end.
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1, 64 bit
Processor: AMD Turion II P540 Dual-Core Processor, AMD64 Family 16 Model 6 Stepping 3
Processor Count: 2
RAM: 3834 Mb
Graphics Card: AMD M880G with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250, 320 Mb
Hard Drives: C: Total - 458631 MB, Free - 360550 MB; D: Total - 18003 MB, Free - 2606 MB; F: Total - 99 MB, Free - 90 MB;
Motherboard: Hewlett-Packard, 144E
Antivirus: avast! Antivirus, Updated and Enabled
Edited by zombteach, 19 August 2012 - 09:37 PM.