Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Last night on my arrival home, I was trying to get the computer booted in the about 20 minutes I had before something was going to happen, and for the umpteenth time, one of the adobe products popped up and reminded me that I really needed to install an upgrade. OKFINE. (Stupid 1)
I do have a vague memory of something saying "you must install this to continue with the installation of what you are trying to do" to which I said "ok" but I (STUPID 2!) didn't pay too close attention. Figured Adobe would do its thing and finally leave me alone. I did unclick all the "we want to enhance your browsing experience" checkboxes.
Today, in Chrome, trying to get caught up on the mail received in about a week being gone, I noticed a new page I didn't recognize, but could still get to my mail. Suddenly while reading mail, I noticed that my "https:" at the start of my mail URL was obscured by a large X. I closed the browser, and went back in. It all looked good. Processed a few dozen e-mails. Suddenly the X was back. Went over to IE, and discovered that my home page had been replaced with a vgrabber page. Huh. That's the thing that was in Chrome that I didn't recognize. Ok. Got serious. purged the add-ins for both browsers. Partially recreated my "open these pages" home page to IE. Uninstalled the items from the system. Trying to figure what to use to get rid of whatever nasties were in my registry, I remembered adaware from my old utilities-pack. I installed it. Now I remember why I didn't install it on this computer before. It's now a firewall and a this and a that -- wants to be everything, but no longer a tool. But it now has a "play nice with everything else" mode, so I installed it (Stupid 3). I came to realize that the "free" version is not free, but allows a month of use. I ran it -- and it told me that I had no problems at all. hmph. I launched IE -- and my primary home page had been replaced with a Lavasoft page. Ok. Last straw. Tried to uninstall it. It told me (after about 6 minutes) that I needed to be an administrator to do that. (Um... this computer only has one signon, and that is me and I bloody AM an admin. All my prior computers had me and admin being separate, but it's been getting more and more painful to maintain, so I finally gave in.) Took a deep breath, did it again. this time it disappeared, and I got a "please fill out this survey as to why you're deleting us".
Oh yeah? How about you act just like the thing I was trying to get rid of and don't even find what I want to get rid of??? How's that?
Found a reference to ADWCleaner. (Found no references to it being malware.) IT found a bunch of stuff, hopefully including all the vestiges of vGrabber and WebCake or whatever the other thing that piggybacked on Adobe was. IT seems to be a standalone program like I seem to recall adaware being. Maybe it can't do it, or maybe I need to play more, but I only found the way to say "delete everything you found" -- which I did -- but I would really rather a pick & choose, since occasionally products I want to install trip malware buttons.