anti virus programs don't always detect viruses, nore are they 100% accurate, time after time have I gotten false positives, just as long as you know what you are installing, and if you did remove something that actually was needed, that may have caused the stability issue.
the other options are root-kit detection programs, that are specifically designed to detect those nasty things
Also I recommend a real anti virus program those free ones really are not as up to date as most believe, they lag quite behind services like Norton or McAfee, hence why they can still charge, besides 50 bucks for a whole year or even less, is worth it.
in ALL cases its a cat and mouse game, generally a virus infects before its detected.
one really nice anti virus I like aside from Norton is ESET NOD32, it is actually a really nice program, with commercial level security such as heuristics
Symantec's SONAR detection is actually useful for detecting things that might be a virus, by detecting what they are doing, you will still get false positives but rarely, and better safe than sorry.
if you KNOW what you are installing like AI Suite II I believe that gave a false positive (ability to configure hardware) which if a virus could be bad lol. you just override that.
keep in mind that none of this is better than the following:
always scan downloads from site that are not trusted, (porn sites, torrents etc.)
also scan files you get from others, not that they have bad intentions but you never know if they have a virus. (also keep tat kind of file sharing to a minimum)
stay away if possible or at least run our browser in private / in a sand box mode) if going on some less trustworthy sites (porn mostly and almost ALL sites) some may not be that bad like playboy etc, but lets keep this somewhat PG lol)
keep virus software updated, try to consolidate, by using one brand for other security, some security software can cause conflicts when used in conjunction with another.
always scan thumb drives as well. when I was in the navy I remember when we could use them no problem, then a few years ago they said no more, due to a propagating virus that could easily find its way to a thumb drive then start spreading once plugged in.
last but not least IF in the event of the need of a reformat. do it right ESPECIALLY if you are not sure of the virus' whereabouts/details
that is, complete reformat then CLEAN install perhaps get a disk, or fresh download. from a reputable place, nothing like using a compromised install.
ALWAYS forget about all other stuff, and if absolutely unable to separate from the pictures or files etc. safe to a back up area and thoroughly scan the documents, try to refrain from backing up programs, as those tend to be more likely to be infected. just re download / install them.
although HIGHLY unlikely, there are actually some top level virus' that are actually capable of surviving a reformat, that along with data security is why the military randomly overwrite hard drives over 7 times to insure that all data is lost, (hence why o you think file deletes are so quick, and even formatting, all it is doing is deleting the allocated space / tables, only they way to actually delete a program is to overwrite that portion (ie change the magnetic propertied)
some forensic programs can recover data overwritten several times over. so use a good program that will overwrite the data several times, in fact there are "trash bin" programs that do just that to the stuff you delete / place in the incinerator as they are called lol.
P.S. don't always believe all those pop ups that say you need to install this active x or java, or adobe flash, if is does, ALWAYS ONLY GO TO THEIR RESPECTIVE SITE. if the site still don't work its a scam. they just want to make you install some BS.
ALSO check your install programs, sometimes some include crappier things like web tool bars and adware / malware that will greatly slow down your computer. always uncheck if given the option (usually you can) if not remove them manually in the program section of your control panel or delete them manually.
try not to use registry cleaners a whole lot and make back ups when you do, alot of them are poor in removing the right things in their entirety, manual is always better.
don't want it to remove a valid entry then having issues like you did.
Oh and also if using an SSD for your OS, you do not need to defrag, lol also registry compacting is not what it used to be if you are on an SSD. so don't bother unless you really are at the brink of slow moving oblivion.
Edited by Fieldsweeper - 5/19/13 at 11:19am