So I've just spent 8 hrs yesterday, and 4 hours today cleaning a friends laptop of 34 Viri and Trojans. This being a Windows ME laptop made it even more of a pain. Lessons learned: 1) AVG anti-virus did not detect the viri that was giving me the worst problem. Avast did, and in memory too. 2) A lot of these viri probably came from online gambling sites, since that's about all they use it for. 3) The culprit of the startup lockups was avpe32.dll (win32.haxdoor-u), which did not show up in any hijacthis, or any other spyware / startup scanners. I still don't know how it was starting up. 4) If a Windows ME machine hasn't ever been updated, run away as fast as you can. 5) A trojan that includes pe.dll can load via a windows hook even in safe mode, making it very hard to remove.