I have a 2006 Acer Aspire 5920 laptop. It came with Windows Vista installed, has 2 GB RAM, 20 GB HDD in 2 partitions,
I've mainly used the computer for basics like web surfing, using Office, email and some streaming video. When it was newer, my son played games with it online and, being what he thought was pretty computer-savvy at the time, would often change settings and so forth. So while I was pretty careful, who knows what he did when I wasn't around?
Relatively recently, I had the screen replaced when (I could be remembering this incorrectly) the backlight burned out. That was about 1-1/2 years ago.
I work for a university and faculty/staff members can get Windows and MS Office for $10-$15, so last December, I bought the upgrade from Vista to Windows 7. Of course, when I tried to install it, I found out that the upgrade was for Windows Professional and my computer had Home and Office. The same person who replaced the screen for me (and IT guy from work) brought me a copy of Windows Vista Professional to install instead of the Home and Office (don't ask - I didn't). We moved all of my data files off the computer, installed Windows Vista Pro, installed the upgrade to Windows 7 Pro. and it seemed to work.
However, since then, the computer has been slowly, how should i say this, degrading as far as speed goes. Web pages load more slowly. Documents open more slowly. Firefox crashes much more frequently. And lately, over the last 6-8 weeks, it's been taking 7 or 8 minutes to boot up after being shut down.
I tend to want to just jump in and try things myself, so I of course ran a complete scan with the security software that's free from the University - Symantec Endpoint Protection. All it's ever found is tracking cookies.
I downloaded Malwarebytes and ran a full scan. I downloaded SuperAntiSpyware and ran a full scan. Neither found much of interest except for duplicate files that I'm working on cleaning up.
I have HijackThis on my desktop and have run it several times. The first time, there were a few things listed that I was pretty sure I could take care of myself, but a lot that I just don't know enough about to be sure.
After getting some advice, I uninstalled Symantec's software and installed MS Security Essentials instead.
I've uninstalled some software that I wasn't using. I did de-select a few items from the start-up list that I didn't think needed to be running (like ABBY Fine Reader OCR software for the printer that I've never used).
At this point, I don't know if the computer is infected, it's suffering from too little memory, or the motherboard is failing.
Thanks so much!