After spending a lot of time fixing the problem w/ the Smart Security Background and the double-icons...I'm still experiencing some aftermath that I'd like to get rid of. I'm unable to:

-actually change the desktop (under 'Properties' then 'Desktop')
-view my wireless network connections (so bizarre)

Also, I find that my computer speakers do not play as loudly (at max volume) as before all of this. It seems far-fetched, but is there any chance this is related (I won't put anything past these bastards!)

thanks to everyone for your help. If I could fix these issues (especially the internet problem), I'd be so grateful!

Assuming this is XP (if not, please let us know the OS), try a 'repair' installation, instructions here (Method 2):;en-us;315341&Product=winxp

Other things to try:
Winsockfix --
IEfix --

If your speaker volume is still not up to par, try reinstalling the sound card drivers and/or the motherboard drivers, they could have become corrupted.