A very common problem that exists is the loss of Internet connectivity after being infected with or removing spyware. A free utility exists that will completely rebuild your WinSock and restore your Internet connectivity.
For Windows XP, I recommend Winsock XP Fix .
For Windows 98/ME, I recommend: Winsock2 Fix
By running either of these utilities, your network will be completely reset. If you utilize static IP addresses, take note of those settings so you can reapply them if necessary. If you use DHCP for IP and DNS settings then there are no precautions you need to take prior to using the WinSock repair software mentioned above.
If you want more control over extracting specific items from your WinSock, try LSP-Fix .
Be aware, however, that using this utility requires technical knowledge.
Speaking of technical knowledge, if you're trying to remove spyware and you are familiar with the inner workings of Windows, use HiJackThis to help reveal and remove applications that shouldn't be installed.
Don't be afraid copy and paste your HiJackThis log file to this web-based HiJackThis log file analyzer . While it's not recommended that you rely exclusively on the log file analyzer, combined with your own technical knowledge, it should help determine which items do not belong.
All of the applications listed above are entirely FREE!!!
Getting Other Help
SpywareWarrior is a great place to go for help, should you get infected with stubborn spyware that seemingly cannot be removed. The website has forums with spyware removal experts who are more than happy to work with you, free of charge, to help rid yourself of nasty and stubborn spyware without resorting to reinstalling your operating system - or throwing away your computer, for that matter.
They also have great spyware-related information, including reporting on rogue anti-spyware that acts like anti-spyware software, but is in fact, spyware. Finally, they feature anti-spyware comparison tests and up-to-the-minute spyware news.
As you can see, with all the numerous free solutions available to help prevent and remove spyware, you can use your money to actually GET something instead of just to PREVENT something.