Thanks for the replies (or at least the ones that were helpful ). I admit I was extremely frustrated about this because I am not generally a sucker and hate to be tricked and conned. So the "user error" comments really got under my skin. Apologies for the obvious steam coming out of my ears.
Didn't mean to poke you in the eye when you were frustrated, but I also couldn't help myself. I won't say anything more about it. I think I also gave some helpful advice, too, though.
I'm just going to back up what I have and take my machine in for repairs. Needs new USB drives and all kinds of other upgrades. I'll probably run it for another year and switch back to Mac.
For my money, it just costs too much to have others work on a computer for me. Maybe for a laptop, but a desk top I can strip down and fix pretty easily. Time is money, of course, so do what works for you. I'd at least run a scan and see if you can clean it up before you pay someone to do that for you.
As far as HP? I don't even want to buy their printers.
The only reason Linux is a solution for malware is because nobody uses it. I did use it once to recover my wifes laptop, but continuing with it is too much of a learning curve. This dog is too old for that.