I am feeling really stupid.
I have Windows XP pro, on a Dell Dimension E521. I've been trying to figure out why I can't seem to make a rescue disk with a PE environment (Using Macrium Reflect FREE edition).
It may be that I may need some Windows 7 compatible drivers. Dell doesn't provide any, so I went looking on the web, based on my specific hardware. I was very frustrated at not being able to find what I needed to make a rescue disk work. I found a .zip file for a driver for my exact model of DVD rw -+. I don't remember where I got it from. I must have considered it a safe place at the time - I'm pretty careful about such things. The zipped file was on my pc for a while, and I just decided to extract the files. Which was probably dumb, since I don't remember where I got the file from.
I extracted the zip file to a new folder on my desktop. It created an .exe file. My firewall expressed a warning about an unknown executable, but I am so tired, that I went in to the firewall settings, and set it to allow it to run. Well, I ran the .exe file, and an installer opened up complete with a cute little gui.... which I thought was strange for just installing an updated driver. I should have trusted my suspicions and cancelled until I could research the source of this file. Instead, I let it run, and it installed something (hopefully genuine driver installation files) somewhere. It said the installation will finish when I restart windows.
Now that I'm thinking about it, I am really worried that it could be malware. I am afraid to restart my PC! Is there any way to prevent this from becoming a nightmare if it is malware? I do have a restore point, from before I installed Macrium Reflect at least 10 hours before this incident. But I'm not sure that is the best way to go. If I restore to before that program install, it's going to leave documents and settings and some other types of folders around my pc, related to Macrium Reflect.
Can somebody help me think this through?