I agree about using Firefox instead
While it does sound very much like a virus it could equally easily be caused by just some other random Windows problem. If you have a legit copy of Windows you might want to poke around on
to see if they have anything helpful about Internet Explorer problems at the moment.
For the longer term i would recommend trying out a few demo versions of linux, it's really not as tough and geeky any more but is almost completely virus free
Here's a detailed guide on how to try out a demo of Ubuntu.
When you download Ubuntu from
then make a cd of it by double-clicking on the iso file, this guide might help
i tend to find the cheapest "write once" cds that you can only get in blocks of 10 or more are better for this than more expensive cds and dvds tend to be really rubbish for this. Anyway once you have the cd then boot up from it to the menu with "Try Ubuntu without changes to this machine", if you don't get that menu then this guide might help
Choosing the "Try Ubuntu ... " option should get you to a working desktop which we call a "LiveCd session", if it works ;) Most versions of linux have this feature although they don't all have such a fancy menu. Ubuntu's LiveCd has firefox on the top taskbar and should have worked out your internet connection so having got a LiveCd session working you should be able to surf around and check that Ubuntu is going to work easily on the machine. Once you've done that then a dual-boot is better than wiping off an existing working OS, even if that is Windows ;)
Ooops, i got carried away and showed a good way to install it without losing Windows
Good luck and regards from