|The ironic thing is that I uninstalled internet explorer|
You HAVE to have internet explorer to download critical windows updates.
Have you used the McAfee uninstaller to get rid if McAfee? If not....it is still engaged on your PC. Also, I would NEVER recommend even Norton, that is one of the worst AV's anymore.
If you want to uninstall Norton be sure to use the uninstaller from the Norton website or it too will be imbedded in your registry and no other programs will work propery.
Avast and AVG are much better than the 2 above and also are free for home use.
Now that all being said, you have to work on removing any viruses, spyware and rootkits from your PC.
You can download these onto a cdr, thumbdrive etc and then run on the problem PC.
2- Trojan Remover
2- Hitman Pro
Run those untill they are clean
Once the problems are removed you will have to reset the winsock on vista:
That should get you back online.
Some HELP in posting on Computing.net plus free progs and instructions Cheers