When your PC is running slow or obviously has a virus or other malware, there are some things you can do.
- ensure you have enough memory for your PC: XP at least 1GB, Vista and Win 7 at least 2GB
- virtual memory should be about double what your real memory is
- hard drive space should have at least several GB free
- check and be sure all Windows Updates are applied - XP go to
Microsoft Update
be sure to click Custom and get all updates EXCEPT Windows Search Version 4 (hide it for the future) - use the add/remove programs feature to get rid of programs you recognize as malware.
uninstall Windows Search Version 4 if it is installed, then go to Windows Update and hide it.
It slows down your computer. Be careful not to remove something just because you don't recognize it;
most computers have several programs installed which you need but may not use directly.
- go to Trend Micro and use housecall, their free virus checker.

- go to google and search for "download spybot"

One of the links is the Home of Spybot Search and Destroy. Another should be a link to download.com
where you can download and install spybot. After installation you will run spybot and:
1. make a copy of your registry
2. search for updates
3. download all available updates: it's very important that you download updates
before each time you run spybot.
4. scan your system and remove the objects it finds. Use caution since sometimes it considers
some of the software you may like as spyware and will delete it.

- go to Trend Micro and download hijackthis.
You will need assistance with the results. Use
bleepingcomputer hijackthis tutorial.

- You should educate yourself about malware in general.

- Also get your system setup correctly.

- Use the following script to repair Automatic Windows Updates:
Finally you can have Weldon Computers take care of the problem for you. We will:
save your documents; email address book; email; favorites, desktop, Documents, and any other data you specify. Then we scan your hard drive in a different machine. This removes viruses, spyware, adware, trojans, etc. Sometimes the hard drive runs fine when reinstalled in your system, so we make sure your Windows and antivirus updates are done. If the antivirus is old we will recommend a new one.

Sometimes, though after all that is done, your system, though free of viruses and malware, cannot work properly. This is due to either corruption of the registry or the files on the hard drive.

In that case we reformat your drive, reload Windows, install an Internet Security program such as PCCillin Internet Security, get all the updates, replace your data, set up your email and addresses, and do any other things you need.

Often it is wise to just skip the first step and simply reformat after saving your data. It saves money.