My system has developed a strange problem in which Internet Explorer 6 will begin to load but never quite finish. Sometimes, if I let it go for five or six minutes, it will finally load all the way and can be used normally. But most of the time, it just sits with the green progress bar most of the way and I eventually have to use Task Bar to stop the process. This all began suddenly a couple of days ago -- no prior problems at all.
Along with this, my internet speed is showing at 18 to 24 MB/s on that system, whereas previously it was always a constant 50MB/s. Even right now, on my notebook computer, I'm getting a 50 MB/s transfer rate so I know that this is not a problem with the Internet service or my WiFi. Something is slowing down my connection speed on that system!?
I was able to install Firefox 2 and interestingly enough, it experiences no problems whatsoever either opening or searching the web. The problems only occur if I try to open IE 6 or if another program tries to open it. Even to view a static HTML document!!
I have tried everything...virus scans, various anti-hijacker programs, reinstalling parts of IE6... Nothing has helped. I have a fear that some type of malware has infected my computer through the browser and is now masquerading itself as some other program when the system starts up. Why else would my Internet speed itself be cut in half like that but only on that one machine??? Oh and one other weird thing...whatever it is has affected Task Manager, too. When I try to see what processes are running, it lists everything at 0% of resources...something weird is definitely happening.
Has anyone else experienced a virus, malware, hijacker or whatever that had this same effect on Internet Explorer 6? Any ideas on what I can do? Is there software that can identify and stop the problem once it has already "infected" the system?
What's the last resort for a situation like this, if I just can't find the cause? Will I have to basically reinstall Windows XP or perhaps upgrade to Vista along with reformatting the hard drive? Would that eliminate any such problems?
Any help would be greatly appreciated -- I'm at a bit of a dead end. :-(