I don’t know what this customer stepped in, but it’s pretty nasty.
Trashware- popups to the extent that the computer was useless. I manually removed many of the usual suspects with Revo Uninstaller (on the most aggressive setting) and Windows Programs and Features for the ones that Revo could not find. Of course they came back after the first reboot.
I ran Bleeping Computer’s RKill and The Killer – a similar utility that I downloaded from Bleeping Computer a year or 2 ago. Having done that I ran Malwarebytes, Superantispyware, ADW Cleaner, Kaspersy’s TDSS Killer, Bleeping Computer’s Junkware removal tool, HiJackThis, ESET’s online scanner, Norton Power Eraser, Trend Micro’s Housecall, Combofix, and Hitman Pro. Process Explorer does not show anything running that I can identify as bad or unusual. Several times when I checked to see if things were actually being corrected, I found that Search Protect had reinstalled itself. And, each utility finds different PUPs and Trojans. Nothing has run clean yet.
I have run several of the utilities several times. I have also reset IE, several times and set the start page to msn.com after setting it to default did not work. When I open IE, the start page is www-search.info no matter what I do, and when I try to go to a web page, especially one that is involved in antivirus, a new IE window opens with either a fake Java update (Java is not installed), a fake Flash Player update, or a page allegedly from Microsoft Security Essentials telling me to call a particular phone number for help. There are no unusual toolbars or extensions listed in Internet Options, and the only search provider is Bing. I am unable to install Google as a search provider. Sometimes when I recheck Trovi is listed as a search provider. IE without add-ons displays a start page that announces that IE is running without add-ons, but behaves normally when I click the Home icon.
I suspect that when I come back to the computer in the morning, some if not all of the problems will have returned.
The OS is Windows 7.
Short of a complete reinstallation of Windows, is there anything that can be done to make this computer useful?