What to do if you think your computer is infected with SpyWare program:
1. Do not panic.
2. Visit http:/www.download.com, search for "Ad-Aware" (Bring Search)
Download and install this program. Start the Ad-Aware, run online update and clean your computer with it. Restart the computer when you are done. Be ready, this procedure can take quite a long time.
3. After initial cleanup, visit http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html and download Spyware Blaster. Run all the required updates and click "Enable All Protection". You can close the application after the protection has been enabled. This application makes changes to your computer (registry) and makes sure you will not catch new adware/spyware.
4. Update Windows. Open Internet Explorer and click "Tools"->"Windows Updates". You should get to the Microsoft Windows update site.
If Internet Explorer did not open the site, try to open it manually by visiting following URL http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com, if still nothing try another one: http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com. You will receive a popup from Microsoft (similar to adware/spyware popups). Make sure your popup blocker lets the popup through and you install the software for scanning and updating the computer.
5. After everything is done you can change your Homepage to the location that you like (if it was changed by adware/spyware). If you need to change the Homepage location, please review the instructions @ The Doll Palace Manual Article #21
It is a good practice to update Ad-Aware, Spyware Blaster and Windows (Microsoft Windows Update Site) every week. After the update is completed do not forget to scan your computer with Ad-Aware.
Congratulations, your computer should be fine at this point!!!
Another good product to clean up the computer is "Spybot". Its functionality is very similar to Ad-Aware. Visit http:/www.download.com and search for "Spybot" (Bring Search)
Download and install this program. Start the Spybot - Search & Destroy, run online update and clean your computer with it. Restart the computer when you are done. You can find guide on Spybot @ http://www.chem.wisc.edu/~network/spybot/
Consider installing WinPatrol to track the attempts of new spyware installs.
(Visit http:/www.download.com, search for "winpatrol" (Bring Search)
Many antivirus products do not consider Spyware as a virus and could not effectively protect your computer. Try to do this yourself. Do not click yes on any active-x prompts (Like NetPal) in the future.
To completely disable "Active-X" prompts you can adjust settings in your browser.
In Internet Explorer click "Tools..." -> "Internet Options..." -> Select "Security" tab -> Click "Custom Level" button -> Change all "Active-X" related items that are set to "Prompt" to "Disable" -> Click "OK" and "OK" again to close the window.
Other things to consider:
CWShredder (CoolWebSearch remover)
Control your startups:
Startup Control Panel
Check what's necessary and what isn't
Services Guide for Windows XP
Windows XP Service Configurations
Windows XP Strange Service Information
Windows 2000 Service Configurations