Well my mother was finally able to track down the system recovery disks (after nearly a year of idle searching) for the desktop so I completely formatted the SpyWare ridden machine and started fresh. I’ve just installed Firefox (the Opera download kept failing on me, so I just gave up and chose Firefox instead) and deleted the icons for IE so that no one will try to use it, along with explicit instructions to everyone to please use Firefox for all their surfing needs.
But that’s not even the really good news. My brother has a PS2 downstairs, and because of strange difficulties in connecting to the router, was continually swiping the modem to hook directly to his machine. I finally convinced him to buy a wireless router, as my laptop has a wireless connection, so that at the very least, I could still surf while he was using his PS2. That just left the need to buy a wireless card for the desktop. But! In a fit of genius, I decided that possibly the problem wasn’t with the actual cable that we had originally run from the router to his machine, maybe it was a router configuration problem. I went downstairs, plugged the cable into the new wireless router, plugged the other end into the desktop, and voila, I saved myself 60 some-odd bucks on a wireless card. All three get great connection speeds, and now, hopefully, my spyware problems will be greatly diminished, and the computer, which is really a rather decent one, runs like a dream again.
Man, I love it when a great plans comes together. ::taps cigar::