I am running Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit on a HP Pavilion laptop, acquired in August 2008. For the past few weeks I have been experiencing a range of strange behaviours that I have not been able to pin down. The steps I have taken to resolve the issues have included: run full anti-virus and malware scans; turn off software firewall; turn off all anti-virus programs.
At each of the different steps, I have run the anti-virus/malware scans again, without discovering anything. At each separate step, the behaviours did not change, especially the browser issue, which is currently my biggest problem by preventing access to where I need to go (I am studying on-line).
The behaviours include:
Unable to load certain web sites. This occurs for the relevant sites regardless of which browser I use. Tested in Firefox 4, Internet Explorer 9 and Google Chrome. It appears to be the same sites every time, although on rare occasions, a previously 'blocked' site will load, then refuse to load subsequently. I queried my ISP to establish whether this was a wider problem - it wasn't.
My PC 'forgets' about the CD/DVD drive, but not every time. I can always restore it by a hardware rescan in Device Manager.
Some of my software programs will not run. Again this is not consistent.
Cannot boot from my CD/DVD drive, even when set in BIOS to load first.
The last item really is a pain, since I had decided on a final solution of a full Windows re-install, painful as it was bound to be.
My next solution was to buy a new laptop, but unfortunately I will not have the means to do that for perhaps another 12 months. I am a heavyweight user, running up to 4 programs at a time and rely on this computer extensively.
My only other option is to install Windows 7 on my iMac, then transfer everything across. I do not really want to do that either, since am running a base storage level that I use daily of 1.5 TB - and that is already bulging at the seams. My laptop internal HDD is 500 GB. I am a retired pensioner, not long out of hospital after major surgery, so I regard my laptop as a crucial connection to the world, not to mention more convenient to use at the moment. I really would appreciate some ideas about what is going on.
EDIT: June 17
I forgot to mention in the above that I have already run the TDSSKiller and it returned a nil result.
In addition I have done a reboot into Safe Mode with Networking, and of course the problem seemed to disappear in the relatively short time I was running it. I think I will do a more extensive test too. I will look up how to load Windows 7 onto a USB drive and give that a go.
The reality is I probably do need a new laptop, but it will have to wait for a few more months - no funds available until probably the new year! Thank you for the replies so far. Next step is to run a full backup onto a spare drive before anything else.