So, this isn’t really about Open Source software, but I’m posting it in case it helps someone else…

OK, so I use Windows XP at work. I do coding and development, that sort of stuff, so I get local admin rights to install stuff – it’s a privilege,  so I make sure to be careful with it and not do daft stuff.  Basically I don’t give them an excuse to take away a very useful ability.

I’m working away as usual, accessing stuff on the corporate network as you do, when I notice that the address bar in Windows Explorer has gone bonkers. Every time I click on it or try to edit it, it reverts to the current directory path and highlights the whole path string. Since I habitually use the address bar to navigate about, this proves to be a problem.

Thus ensues a couple of hours of fruitless Googling, trying to work out what’s going on (I do raise a HelpDesk call, but they’re busy people). I begin to wonder if I’ve become the victim of some drive-by virus download facilitated by my local admin rights. Eventually I resort to killing processes in the Task Manager, to see if that has any effect. Sounds drastic, I know, but I know my Task Manager’s usual contents rather well after all these years, so can eliminate the majority of EXE files shown before I start.

Fourth time of asking, I kill something called “mswinext.exe”, and the problem goes away. Just like that.  Turns out this is part of the Bing Search Bar for Internet Explorer (which I don’t recall installing at any point, by the way – I’m a Firefox kinda guy).  Sure enough, a quick trip to the “Add/Remove Software” section of the Control Panel shows this unwanted application as installed.

Simple enough to uninstall, but how did it get there? Huh?