Ad-Aware and Spybot using latest updates DO NOT find this, nor remove it. I agree it is VERY annoying and it seems nobody knows about it. I have it now on two separate machines. At first I thought it was a feature of XP SP2 because it started just after I installed the SP (after trying to ensure that all trojans, spyware, etc had been removed as per Microsoft's recommendation). If it is a new Feature of XP/IE 6 its very very annoying!
On the matter of XP SP2 - removal is seems easy, but is far from it as it does not seem to clean up everything and leaves the Win-Update site (latest version) broken, meaning that you cannot update and patch SP1 as recomended by the Microsoft Dialog.
I uninstalled because it slowed my machine to a smnails pace -- 2,4GHz processor - now gone I have performance back.
I rang Microsoft XP SP2 helpline yesterday they seem to know about the problems with Update site after an un-instal, but fixes didn't work from KB. Response was why on earth do you want to un-install it? I said I wanted to because a load of legacy 16 bit software no longer works. The guy said I need to wait for vendors to update their software - I said, but this stuff is no longer supported but worked until SP2! He then seemed to inply that Microsoft knew about this and I said why then didn't the installer warn that the SP2 MAY cause 16 bit/legacy apps to stop working (even when in emulation mode) and WORSE also Stops 16 bit apps from installing!
He had no answer that was apart from the standard response that SP2 is good for you and microsoft is not responsible for third part software ..................
The moral .... DONT install SP2 unless you have tested it with ALL you APPS.