Okay, today was a weird day.
For no apparent reason while surfing what I think are safe sites, about 2PM my computer suddenly quit responding! Well, whatever etc, time to reboot. And then upon rebooting, processes started failing to load at very low levels! It was easy to tell that both mouse and keyboard were working, aka not a simple bad battery. But what was really scary is the comp didn't want to accept the function key to choose boot modes! (I think it's F8) to go into safe mode! Then when it did boot up (partially), it worked for like five seconds before doing anything would lock it up!
Has anyone here had their comp used in a botnet? What does that look like? That was my guess, though I was thinking virus, or hard drive dangers (though the pattern felt wrong for that one), and a couple other things. The suddenness and "thoroughness" were unnerving because the usual sequence of Go-To tricks weren't working. No easy Safe Boot. No easy System Restore.
I got a break when I went to the Bios and turned off Quickboot, and some logo setting, and something else. Then that slowed the machine down long enough to get the F8 boot menu to show, and Safeboot with networking worked, and it stayed there. So I made some copies of some important data to the spare internal drive. And I had browsers, so a vague memory led me to check the web and remember msconfig, where I turned off a bunch of stuff, a couple of which looked rather fishy. I went for a System restore to a couple of days ago, and that partially worked. Then on a boot in debug mode and a couple other variants, something finally gave way and MsSecEssentials sent a different notice "this process has stopped. Restart the process?" and then it's been fine since (though I haven't rebooted since all that!) So I still don't know if it's completely fixed.
Yeah, I need to do all those virus scans and stuff, but I think that can wait a little since it all seems to be back and I need to have my energy up for all that to concentrate. But it's leading me to think, is MS isn't officially doing security updates on XP anymore, how long before someone finds something really nasty and just goes mass comp hunting?