Why Did Downloading the .pdf Program Screw Up My Texts?

Our computer is only a couple years old, and it is running well. But for some unknown reason, although it has every other program we need, it doesn’t have a program to read .pdf files (I believe that is the name for those “pamphlet” files some websites offer). It hasn’t been too big of an inconvenience so far. But a short while ago, I decided to look into the matter. So I chose the option of going to the website that offers this program. It was getting late, and as far as I know, I just visited the website. I didn’t download anything. But then the weirdest thing happened. I could no longer open up my text documents! Now, I rely on text documents alot. I store all kinds of information in them. Anyways, I did a system restore and understandably never went back to that site since.

Does anyone know why that would have happened? Also, does anyone know of any other way to read .pdf documents. I know when I open them with the text program, I just get a jumble of characters.

Thank you to all who help:) .

What happens when you doubleclick a text document?
What happens when you rightclick and choose “open with” word/wordpad?
What happens when you start word/wordpad first and open text document from there?

boot to safe mode and do a virus scan.

Jim B.:

When you download the .pdf Reader program it is “psa201se_DLM_us_full.exe”
for WindowsXP. You must RUN the program to install the reader. If you did not download and run the execute program you did not do anything to disrupt you PC. I have not had a problem from running this type of program. Hence Hälge is most likely correct in surmising your problem lies elsewhere.

We were recently attacked by a trojan attempt that messed up our Notepad shortcut - attempting to open something via Notepad would run another program entirely. The attack came from a legitimate website, or one of its advertisers (presumably got hacked somehow); Nortcon caught it before the actual trojan could be downloaded, but we did have to recover our notepad executable.

It’s highly unlikely that Acrobat Reader would mess up your ability to read text files. I think it’s quite possible that the timing is coincidental. Or perhaps the website you visited to get Acrobat Reader had been hacked to do the trojan download.

Here’s a link to a discussion of one such trojan: http://www.pchell.com/virus/qaz.shtml