Windows 7 permissions bug

I am not sure whether or not this is a bug or a virus/malware, but my gut says bug.

I think that way because running malwarebytes and hijack this reveals nothing out of the ordinary viruses or malware are detected.

The issue basically is that I cannot open files or run certain programs. I have a bunch of jpegs on the desktop, for instance. Try to open one and I get the message "Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item."

The same goes for an mp3. Curiously enough I can open torrent files and word documents, or even text documents. I can open folders, but not stuff within them.

The odd part is the programs that choose to run and those that do not. AIM, Yahoo messenger, winamp, office 2007, all work. But virtualdubmod, photoshop, jasc animation shop, do not. Just seemingly very random, don't you think?

I have tried changing permissions to no avail, although I may be doing it wrong. The only fix seems to be using system restore, although for some reason that "wears off" after a few hours and the problem returns. I also cannot change anything in User Accounts under control panel.

I'm running Windows 7 Build 7100 and everything else on this PC seems to be normal. I'm posting this via Firefox, which works fine. I can type and save in Word, chat on messenger, listen to music....but using Photoshop is out!

Any suggestions?

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