Control Panel is blank. Browser links fail.

March 14, 2011 at 09:24:45
Specs: Windows XP
1. I open control panel but no programs show up.
2. In both IE and Chrome, I search, see the links, BUT when I click on any link, I get taken to other sites.
3. AVAST and other software says I have Registry problems. I used free registry cleaners, one from PC Tools and one from ARO to cleanup some of the problems.

Thanks for any help,

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March 14, 2011 at 09:59:16
Re your item 1.
Do you mean there are no icons in the Control Panel?

Registry Cleaners can put on more faults than they fix.

Can you do system restore to a time before the problems came along?

Please come back and let us know how you got on.

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March 14, 2011 at 10:55:21
It sounds to me like you have malware on your system, especially with what you said in point 2. I suggest you download and install Malwarebytes' Anti-malware Free, update all available definitions, and do a full system scan. Clean all infections and scan again until it reports none. If there are persistent problems, report back.

Afterward, do the same steps with SUPERAntispyware Free. SAS also detects and removes browser tracking cookies which aren't necessarily malicious but a good thing to remove. Don't be alarmed if it reports a load of problems that turn out to be tracking cookies.

Afterward, scan with Avast, your real-time protection and report the results. I personally don't like Avast Free and prefer Avira Free or even AVG Free to better initially protect against threats. The latter seems to slow some computers down, however.

Apologies if I don't respond to your reply immediately. I don't check this site daily, but you're welcome to PM me as a reminder.

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March 14, 2011 at 17:01:21
Yep, if you suspect Malware then you might be better to use the advice given in #2 (rather than my #1) because system restore itself might have been infected.

Please come back and let us know how you got on.

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