Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Occasionally software, particularly free software, will install a lot more than just itself. Cleaning up from such a mess can be quite the undertaking.
A few months ago I installed free software to convert audio/video files. Apart from the program not working very well, it hijacked Internet Explorer and Firefox by installing menu bars, home pages and other things I didn't know were going to be installed from ask.com. I am using Windows XP pro fully updated and used 'Remove programs' to uninstall the software and all the ask.com stuff.
It turned my desktop PC into a mess! It killed my network, printing and audio services. I think I have fixed the network and printing issues but not audio.
[... lengthy list of additional woes removed ...]
Many years ago I tried a so called reputable registry cleaner (on the same PC) which did more harm than good and I'm wondering if they are any better today? If you think it is worth a try I will but if not I can kind of live without audio as most of what I do is graphics related. If you know of something else I could try instead that would be great.
I know exactly what you need.
And you're not going to like it.
I'll review how you got here, what to avoid in the future, and a couple of straws you can grasp at.
I'll also tell you what I expect you really need to do.
All too often, supposedly free software comes with a hidden cost. Often it's as simple as some advertising. Occasionally it's a somewhat obscure attempt to trick you into "requesting" additional software that you don't really want or need.
And sometimes there's no trick at all: the free software you want is the bait to lure you into installing it - as well as a bunch of other stuff you don't want or need, without even asking.
And of course, in the worst case, free software's additional payload and cost is malware.
Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good, reputable and safe free software out there.
You just need to be really, really careful when choosing what to use. Do some research before hitting "Install". Google the product name, or perhaps the product name and the word "sucks", view the support forums for the product to see what experiences people are having. (No support forum? That, in itself, may be a clue.)
You get the idea. Just because a package claims to do something you want don't just assume it's ok without doing a little research first.
So, your machine's a mess after having installed and uninstalled this offending (and perhaps offensive) software.
Some things to try:
Run updated anti-malware scans - both virus and spyware. Some of what you're facing could indeed be malware related, and perhaps these tools will help.
Use Revo Uninstaller to locate and perhaps more completely uninstall the program, and anything you can see that it brought with it.
Run the System File Checker to see if Windows can repair missing or corrupt files itself.
Consider attempting a repair install of Windows (often an option from the Windows setup media).
You'll note that I don't recommend a registry cleaner - I don't recommend them in general, and I wouldn't recommend them for this type of repair operation.
In fact, my honest recommendation is much more severe.
With a machine that's facing as many problems as you describe, and particularly because of the way the machine got to this point, I'm of the opinion that a reinstall from scratch is called for.
Backup the machine so as to preserve your data.
Reformat the hard disk to erase all the problems.
Reinstall Windows and all your applications from scratch.
Restore your data from your backup or wherever else is convenient.
As painful as a reinstall sounds, it's often much less work than a prolonged game of whack-a-mole trying to resolve individual problems one at a time.
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