right okay - smitfraud didn't seem to find anything - although, I really couldn't understand what it was doing. I went to the root file and it had a list but it didn't say whether or not the files were infected or not. When I tried to clean (option 2) - nothing seemed to happen. Again, not sure as the program isn't very user friendly and doesn't tell you what it's doing.
combo fix - all I have to say about this is WTF??!!
first of all, in safe mode it tells me to disable avg - which is impossible in safe mode. there is no way to disable it. the only thing that comes up with avg is the ability to scan - you don't even have access to any other functions. so, I ran it in regular mode as it told me if I ran it with avg running it would futz the machine. well... it futzed the machine anyway.
it deleted pretty much every registry key for every program I had - all my browser keys - even windows system keys. I couldn't run anything. I was lucky as hell that the restore function even worked. Horribly user unfriendly - generated a huge "report" but didn't say what any of it meant - infected, not infected, suspicious - etc. junk. Christ, when are programmers going to learn to write stuff that someone other than them is able to understand and use? it IS the 21st friggin' century... I thought we got over this crap in the 90's...
As far as I can tell then, none of that helped. Just made things worse.
**I did a specific search for yahoo hijacking the search engine- don't know why I didn't think of that before. I found TONS of posts with people having the same issue but not a single solution. everyone points to the usual suspects - run anti malware, run Ccleaner, check your settings, disable addons - etc.
One post claimed that if there are any yahoo cookies on your machine at all - that it will eventually take over everything. Sounds to me like someone needs to go to anti trust court. Did microsoft buy yahoo? I notice it tends to return the exact same junk that their new craptastic bing engine returns.
I found a yahoo update tool in my programs and got rid of it. I have my fingers crossed. :p