I'm new here, and I'm new to problems of this sort. I've had a virus on my computer only once before - about a year ago.
Now, just looking through my Windows explorer in order to determine the size of some files I noticed two things that I never saw before (both on C:\):
1 - an executable file asdf.exe with a creation date of Nov. 14, 2006 and
2 - a file-folder that contained one text file only, but quite large for a txt file - 284kb. Both the txt file and the folder it's in are named 43f01b56c3a4b5becc7eb561 with the creadtion date of No. 17, 2006. I read that the asdf thingie is actually a virus, but when I right-clicked on it and chose "scan with Norton" it returned a clean bill - no virus!!! The same with the funny-name file folder and the txt file. I do believe both are "evil entities" and my first instinct was just to delete them. However, I thought better of it and decided to get help first.
3 - In addition, when turning off the computer the following happens: as it is preparing to shut off, the computer gives a warning "shutting down the ... program" for which I didn't even know existed. One is identified as ccApp, the other one only as -sw
4 - Another problem that appeared a few days ago: in the taskbar used to have little visual "dividers" between shortcuts to programs, and icons for open programs and it disappeared ....
5 - my laptop has slowed down to a crawl! It takes forever to boot up, and when it does it takes additional time to load Norton. All in all, I wait about 5 minutes before it's fully booted and loaded. My start menu is pretty slim so it shouldn't affect the speed of booting up the computer. The laptop is 4 years old and it's loaded with just 12% of free space, and I know that will slow it up, but it's been like that for a year now and it hasn't been THIS slow.
OK, I know this is a lot of questions - but all these things happened in short succession. Please help any way you can. Thanks a million.