I have a wierd problem that I don't think many people have encountered. This problem only occurs when I leave my computer for a long period of time, so usually when I'm asleep. I wake up, and find about 30 "My Computer" windows open on the desktop. They're just opening up by themselves overnight! Drives me nuts. We can definately rule out the possibility that it may be a virus of spyware. My computer never has spyware (except the occasional tracking cookie, which you can't avoid). Been going on for the past couple months. The programs I have running in the background are:
VNC, Lexmark, Mouse, Spybot, Automate, Minimizer-XP, Roboform, Download Accelerator Plus, DynAdvance Notifier, Roxio Drag-to-Disk, ZoneAlarm, Internet connection, ATI, Avant Browser.
<A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/software/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">This</A> is a list of free software but at the top there are a lot of applications that you should run. That you haven't detected spyware in the past doesn't mean that you don't have it now.
Some spyware is not detected by a certain program but a different one will detect it.
I would run at least AdAware, and Spybot search and destroy.
<font color=red>It's impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious<font color=red>
Believe me, I know everything there is to know about spyware. My job is partly fixing spyware problems on computers (tech support for Verizon). I have multiple spyware scanners (among them are are Ad-Aware and Spybot), and I constantly have them running. I use TeaTimer, which will tell me everything that's about to be changed in the system registry and asks for my approval. I scan the system for spyware on a regular bases (every 3 days or so) and it never ever finds spyware, because I'm VERY careful about what sites I go to, what programs I download and what terms of agreements I'm agreeing to. I don't even get a single popup (caused by spyware, of course), except the ones that a certain website has implemented in their HTML code, which is not caused by spyware.
I use ZoneAlarm suite, which includes a virus scanner as well, which has on-access scan enabled and I scan the system every 3 days overnight, and in safe mode if it can't delete certain viruses. I keep my Windows always up to date via Windows Updates.
Thanks for the list of programs though, I'll review it and see if there's anything I like that I don't have