There a lot of problems here. I am probably going to do a system restore, but I'd sure like to learn how to fix these.
One of the specific problems I've been having is either a rootkit , registry change (by a virus) , or perhaps a changed setting having to do with administrator privileges is preventing me from applying the selection of "show hidden files, folders" and "view extensions for known file types" under folder options. I can check and click apply, but as soon as I reopen folder options it's back to the old setting. The only way I can view hidden files now is when I slave the drive to another PC. Smells like a rootkit but I have yet to find one. If a user did not have administrator privileges to view hidden files would there not be a warning window explaining that I didn't have the rights to change these settings?
Also Windows Update service is correctly set to "Automatic (Delayed start)" and is running but Windows update times out and tells me that Windows Update service is not turned on (!).
Small icons will not populate under control panel (only category view and large icons).
Start > Programs will not fully populate by a mile.
I can't install Internet Explorer 9 or Security Essentials.