Windows 7 Ultimate x64 won't open any 32 bit programs
Hi all, posting a book here:
My Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit does not seem to open any 32 bit programs. When I try to open a 32 bit program, it shows up in the task manager for a few seconds (e.g. "firefox.exe x32"), then disappears after a few seconds. I can open Internet Explorer 64 bit fine, run it with no programs, but the 32 bit version doesn't work.
I also can't access many of the Windows control panel settings, such as "Uninstall Programs." I can open the Control Panel folder, but when I double click on the items inside: nothing.
Background: My wife decided it was a good idea to download and run a program she received in an email from a stranger and let it byp*** our Avast antivirus, which was when this all started. I was able to boot into safe mode and run MalwareBytes, Spybot SD, SuperAntiSpyware, Trend Micro Housecall, and Microsoft Security Essentials; also CCleaner, and a few other similar utilities (finding and deleting many items.) I feel fairly confident (not 100%) that there are no viruses/malware left, but either they screwed something up, or my efforts to subsequently clean the computer up did.
Now I booted into safe mode once or twice, and was able to run 32 bit programs! But now I can't do that anymore: Both regular and safe-mode boots result in the same problem.
Programs that I can run: IE x64, MSE, Super AntiSpyware, Zune software, Notepad...
Programs I can't: All 32 bit programs: Firefox, Microsoft Word/Excel 2007, Malwarebytes, program installation .exes, etc.
I think I'm down to re-formatting the PC, which I'm OK with, but I'd really like to see if anyone can help me avoid that.