|It does sound like something malware would do. Most control panel functions are accessible via their .cpl file in \windows\system32 folder (eg, appwiz.cpl is add/remove programs). Have a look to see if there are .cpl files in that folder.|
Are you getting other oddities - like pop-ups, apparent security program telling you there's loads of infections on your machine?
You could try using system restore to go back before the problem started - though if it is malware you may find either system restore doesn't work or it makes no difference.
If it is malware it will probably have put an entry in the startup list - run msconfig and look at the startup list (you may not recognise all the entries - but malware often uses a random group of letters both to identify itself & its program. Also, often runs from your profile (either the application data or temp folders are favourites) rather than program files.