You should be able to see those files given what you described. Have you scanned your system for malware? Sounds like something odd is going on in that department. At least run Spybot and consider using a commercial tool such as CounterSpy. I wrote this malware removal guide that offers up some more options as well.
Your computer system obviously shows a virus activity which involves the modifications of some system settings of your computer configuration. Make sure that you have the latest antivirus software running in your computer system and perform a full system scan.