Hi Experts - If I had to guess, I think my troubles started when I visited a site called TopSites.com which may have installed some kind of malware that caused me quite a few headaches in my Internet (& possibly Outlook) experience. I proceeded to install SpyBot which helped me clean up quite a few of the issues, but it never got all the way back to 100% I think (or not for long anyway ...); now, even after re-booting, I have the following 3 issues going on:
1) I can't get Spybot to run (& it had been set to run automatically at boot-up). Now when I launch it manually, the icon shows up on the Task Bar but clicking it does nothing & right-clicking it only allows me to close it; when I click close I get a message that the Program is Not Responding & I have to End Task. The program seems to be working at least partially though even though I can't access it as I have gotten a message that some site was trying to download some sort of unrequested spy ware and did I want SpyBot to block the download.
2) I also have a possibly related issue with Internet Explorer - when I try to click on Tools, Internet Options, I get an error message that "The operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your System Administrator". I am the Administrator and I haven't knowingly put any restrictions in effect on this computer although in searching the net for this, I found some threads saying that there is a setting in SpyBot that could produce this behavior but I can't get into SpyBot to check/change it.
3) I also have something strange going on with my Task Bar and Quick Launch bars - they never remember my settings when I re-boot, and they launch with the Address Bar & Link Bar on in my Task Bar (neither of which have I ever wanted "on" in my Task Bar, and it doesn't remember to turn on the Quick Launch bar so I have to make all of these changes manually, worse still, I intermittently will get some kind of errors (I think "msiexec.exe" might be one of them) that totally re-arranges the order of all the open applications on my Task bar as well as the order of the icons on my Quick Launch bar.
I don't know if these issues are related or if they should be submitted as individual questions but I thought I'd mention all of them in one post in case they have a common cause. Thanks for anyone's insights here.