Thanks very much, 1972vet, that makes a lot of sense! Nice to see you again
I figure that a cleanup of the registry and temp files will not do any harm, but I would not want to add to the problem by trying something further without advice. If that doesn't help, and if whatever antivirus or internet security is on board does not seem to be helping (or if it says things are fine yet things do not change or get worse), then I figure they should look for more help. I based the whole idea of my little "let's see if you need help kit" around that concept.
Sometimes the whole problem is because there is a lot of junk that is blocking the way. I have a spare room in my home that just winds up holding all the "stuff" I accumulate. (I accumulate a lot of stuff, too!) I clean it out from time to time, and people squeal over the new windows and floor. But honestly by clearing the junk out I could reach the windows and clean them, and you can walk through the room without climbing over or moving around boxes and piles. So when things are running slow running CCleaner and DeFraggler makes a lot of sense to me as a first step.
I know that the whole idea of the forums is to help folks, and HJT is one of the first scans anybody should do in order to let someone with knowledge help figure out if anything else might be wrong. I think it is a wonderful tool because it is so simple to use and seems to give so much information about where to look next. I would not want to have somebody go any further than that, though, because I would not want to lead them in the wrong direction.
I would rather help somebody post a HJT log and have it be a "false alarm" than to ignore the situation and have it get worse OR to unplug the machine and stare at it in terror wondering if it will send out tendrils in the middle of the night and take over the vacuum cleaner and the microwave and steal our credit card information while we sleep. Not to mention having to look for pods in the basement.
Also, I know many people who believe that if there is an issue, they must cart their machine in for service and be without it for a week or much longer... If someone has a warranty or contract or prefers that method fine, but when I hear of people sending their laptop in for 5 days and paying $250 in labor charges to run Defraggler because "I didn't know I could do that by myself" , it makes me angry.
I am sorry, I am rambling a bit and ranting at the end, hehe! I will put CCleaner, DeFraggler, and HiJackThis! on my thumb drive if I can get them all on there. I can also save a Notepad document with instructions on downloading DDS in case that is needed.
I could make notes on that document as well, of other things that might be helpful for reference or if the browser is acting funny, like the webpage for Malwarebytes. Are there any other sites or documents that might be good to save for something like this, meaning the first 2 or 3 scans or checks of a system?