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Problem with Windows XP


FPCH Member
Mar 14, 2008
Hi there, I'm new to the forum and I would be really grateful if anyone could offer me some advice on how to solve my problem. I'm not the most technically minded, so my apologies if anything I say is unclear or inaccurate!

When I am browsing in Firefox, sometimes the window goes inactive of its own accord - if, for example, I am typing something, Firefox just 'clicks off' and becomes inactive, as if I had clicked on another application in the taskbar to bring it to the front. This happens in all applications - they frequently become inactive without me pressing anything.

The following may be a separate problem, but I have a feeling it might be related to the first. On my task manager, I have noticed that Internet Explorer (iexplore.exe) starts itself up without my consent. It is not on my startup items list, and should not be running, but it frequently appears in the task manager, occasionally accompanied by popup ad windows. I have scanned my system with Avast!, Spybot S&D and AdAware, and it hasn't managed to shift it.

If anyone could offer any help, I'd be eternally grateful!



Hello Matt

Welcome to Free PC Help

Your computer could be infected with Malware.

Malware is the term used to describe computer infections such as Adware, Spyware, Viruses, and Trojan Horses.
You will need to run at least two malware scanners as well as an Antivirus scanner that are listed in the following instructions.
Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus scanners perform different tasks.
The reason to run multiple scanners is to ensure that no single scanner is missing something.

The time it takes will vary depending on your system and your internet connection.
Typically the SUPERAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes scanners will take between 30 and 90 minutes.
The Eset online scan should take between 1 and 3 hours.
In most cases, these scans will suffice to clean and disinfect your computer.

For best results print the following instructions and bookmark this Web page
To keep this guide printer-friendly, use your cursor to highlight the contents below.
From your browser select File - Print and in the printer dialog box under "Print range"
click the Selection choice to print out these instructions for removal of malware.

  • Follow these instructions carefully.
  • Download ATF-Cleaner from Snapfiles.com to remove "junk" files from your computer that may contain malware.
  • You can also download it from Majorgeeks.com
  • When you run ATF-Cleaner, check the items as shown below for Main.
  • For FireFox, be sure to click on the FireFox tab on top and check the items as shown below for FireFox
  • NOTE: If you don't have FireFox or Opera installed then they will be grayed out and can be ignored
  • Then click on "Empty Selected".
  • Install and run the free version (not the Professional version) of SUPERAntiSpyware from www.superantispyware.com
    • Accept any prompts to allow SUPERAntiSpyware to install the latest rules and infection definition files.
    • You do not have to send them your e-mail address, just click next.
    • You can leave the automated check for updates on.
    • You can uncheck "Send a diagnostic report to research center" if you don't want to send the information.
    • DO NOT allow SUPERAntiSpyware to protect your Home Page settings.
    • On the Top Left select the Scan your computer button.
    • Make sure there is a CHECK MARK on all Fixed Drives.
    • Click "Perform a Complete Scan". Click "Next" and reboot the computer when prompted to do so.
  • Disable your internet security by right clicking on its icon (usually located in the system tray next to the time display) and choosing "Exit", "Disable", or "Shut Down".
  • Run an online scan with Eset from http://www.eset.com/onlinescan
  • You must use Internet Explorer for this online scan. FireFox, Opera, etc will not work for this scan.
  • Accept the terms and click "Start".
  • Once the scanner is ready, check "Remove found threats" AND "Scan unwanted applications".
  • Click "Start" to begin the scan.
  • When completed restart your computer
Make sure your internet security is enabled, and then please return to Free PC Help and tell us how the computer seems to be operating.
At that time, you will receive instructions to assist you in removing malicious programs from your Add/Remove program list if warranted.


FPCH Member
Mar 14, 2008
Wow, many thanks for the quick response! I'll do my best to follow the instructions you've given, and will hopefully be able to post back the results later this evening.

Thanks again, much obliged!

Matt :)


FPCH Member
Mar 14, 2008
I've done all of the above, and it seems to be fine so far. I have a log file from the MalwareBytes scan, if that is of any use. Please let me know if there is anything else I should do.

Matt :)


FPCH Long Term Member
Jan 9, 2008
34° 12' 35" N, 118° 29' 21" W
Hi Matt,

In most cases running those scans removes all of the malware from your system.

If your happy with how your system is running and you don't notice anything odd then you're good to go.

Typically the only other thing that is sometimes done is to review what is currently running on the system to see about removing unneeded startup programs.

You could also look in your Accessories/System Tools program group for the Disk Defragmenter and run an Analysis and if needed a Defrag on your drive.

Best wishes


FPCH Member
Mar 14, 2008
Thanks! Neither of my hard drives needs defragmenting, apparently.

I have one final question. The software I downloaded (ATF-Cleaner, Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware), should I keep this on my computer? I'm just concerned that I now have six different anti-malware programs (the three above, plus Avast, AdAware and Spybot S&D). I run a full check with Avast about once a week, but which of the other five programs will I need to run, and how often, to keep my system healthy? Do they all serve different functions?

Many thanks,
Matt :)


Keep those you have downloaded and used in this issue.
Dump Adaware and S&D, they are pretty much out dated these days.
Regarding Avast as your Anti-Virus protection consider the opinions here.