Perhaps this is a virus or hijack problem or some strange corruption to IE6 but I'm not sure. I have McAffee and had been faithfully updating it but my subscription expired about a month ago and I had neglected to renew...so now I'm paranoid that my system got a virus or spyware that has led to this:
The problem started tonight. At one point, not long after IE6 was opened, there was a strange Windows message that said something to the effect of some files having been replaced and Windows XP not recognizing them. It asked me to put in the CD, which I did. Since all I have for XP is the OEM reinstall CD that shipped with the machine (not an official Microsoft CD), that's what I put in the drive. The CD was accessed and the message went away, and that was the last I saw of it. I thought maybe the mysterious issue was solved.
Sometime afterwards, IE6 developed this problem: The browser will open and the home page will appear to load correctly, but the green progress bar will never quite get to 100% and the page never gets loaded all the way such that I can type anything in or use any of the buttons. It just sits like that. After trying numerous things, I decided to just let it sit. After about 5 or 6 full minutes, it did finally load all the way. (Normally, this takes about 2 seconds, as I have a cable modem!) Once it loaded, I was able to surf the web normally. But if I close IE6 and then re-open it, same problem occurs...I have to wait several minutes for it to fully load and be operational. And sometimes, it never fully loads and I ultimately have to use the Task Manager to shut the process.
Another oddity of note is that the problem doesn't just occur when trying to access the Web, but even if I try to view a static HTML page offline. It will load most of the way but IE6 will not load 100% and I can therefore not scroll down the page or do anything else. Yet...programs that access the internet directly (that is, not by opening a browser page) don't seem to be affected. So this seems to be a problem centered on IE6.
The final strange thing which may be significant is that my data speed is compromised. It's normally about 54 MB/s. I have another computer and it is getting 54 MB/s at the same time the computer with the "problem" is showing only 18 MB/s or 21 MB/s. Previously, this was NOT the case. Is it possible that some type of spyware or other malicious program is tying up bandwidth or otherwise reducing the internet speed on the affected computer?
I was able to install another updated virus program (AVG) and run it; it's not finding anything. I also installed and ran Hijack This; it didn't find anything either!
Does this seem like a problem due to virus/spyware or perhaps due to corruption of some file/files in Windows XP? I am very unsure where to proceed from here.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!