Weird bug...Maybe a Trojan? or a Virus?

Ok, so just recently my computer started performing 3 strange things. I'm not if they're related or not, but my best is "yes."
First, the computer freezes up on me at random times...when this happens I cannot move the mouse, nor click on anything, or use the keyboard. The only option was to unplug the computer.
Second, McAfee AnitiVirus won't run anymore, I start it up, but after a minute or so, it has a program error and quits.
Third, there is a process running called "spoolvq.exe", which I had never noticed before, and always uses around 12-16,000k in the Processes list.

Here are some basics:
I'm running Windows 2000 Pro with the latest service pack.
I have the latest ZoneAlarm firewall running constantly.

If anyone can help me with this before I have to reformat the hard drive, I will would appreciate it enormously.

Thanks in advance!!
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Try installing AdAware and run it... see if it finds anything.
Uninstall & reinstall McAfee, and/or perhaps Norton Antivirus.
Run scandisk on your hard drive(s) and see if it reports any errors, problems, etc.

What about Windows Update? All patches applied?

Also try uninstalling ZoneAlarm and see if it helps.

Report back!

skyboyskyAuthor Commented:
some more info that could help:

I have already run the latest (and updated) versions of AdAware and SpyBot. I have uninstalled and re-installed McAfee, then uninstalled again when I saw the problem repeat itself. I then installed Norton, which for some reason could not run it's LiveUpdate. (I've had either McAfee and Norton running and updated for years on this machine without problems). And lastly, I do have the latest patches and updates from Windows. I'm scared to uninstall or stop ZoneAlarm because this "spoolvq.exe" always tries to connect to the internet, and a couple of times has tried to SEND EMAIL.

Any other suggestions? HELP!

Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Unplug your machine from the net and try to uninstall and perhaps manually stop this service and find the file on your HD and delete it.

skyboyskyAuthor Commented:
Ah! One more weird thing just started happening: when I go to START > RUN > "regedit", the Registry Editor has been disabled. I get the following message: "Registry editing has been disabled by your administrator."

Strange thing is that I AM THE ADMINISTRATOR!
This virus seems to be spread by a bogus "Internet Explorer Update" received by email.  This would explain 'spoolvq.exe'

The virus copies itself to the WINDOWS directory using the name "spool"  or smss  followed by 2 random characters, followed by .exe.   A registry key is created to load that file at startup:
Run "Service Host" = %WinDir%\spool (random characters) .exe
skyboyskyAuthor Commented:
speyfisher, this is EXACTLY what I've got. Wow....thanks a ton. Now my problem is REMOVING it. The McAfee and Symantec sites both inform me to simply run a scan and clean/delete the infected files. However the virus makes it impossible for me to even RUN an antivirus. So how can I delete it? The virus (in spoolvq.exe) recreates itself.

Thanks again,
did you see this post about Windows System Restore utility that the virus may use to back itself up?
skyboyskyAuthor Commented:
yep, I had seen that one, however I'm using Win2000Pro
I just cleaned a machine that had over created 400 clones of itself on a machine.      The anti-virus software was being shutdown by the virus.  I removed all the registry keys that the virus had created, and changed back the keys it had modified.  I also renamed my anti-virus .exe file so the virus would not find it and shut it down.

Prevent this thing from starting up, try renaming your anti-virus_program.exe in if it is still being stopped.

Did you remove the viruses' registry keys? i.e. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\spoolXX.exe

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon "Shell" = Explorer.exe spoolXX.exe

skyboyskyAuthor Commented:
I would try changing back my registry keys, but when I try to run regedit, it says I don't have permission (even though I'm logged in as the administrator). I'll try renaming the antivirus .exe.
skyboyskyAuthor Commented:
is there another way to edit my registry without using regedit?
what happens when you terminate the spoolvq.exe process? can you run the AV afterwards? if not you can try this

if you are using McAfee, like you say then you can run a command line scan. download the SDAT into the directory:

>Program Files>Common Files>Network Associates>VirusScan Engine>4.0.xx

Navigate to that directory from a command promt and run the SDAT using the /e switch to extract the update files.

ie. >SDAT4301.EXE /e

then run SCAN.EXE with the /All and /Clean switches

This will clean all infected files without needing to run the Antivirus program

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skyboyskyAuthor Commented:
well...I never got the virus off my machine without reinstalling windows. But anyway...thanks for the help folks...
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