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internet explorer history and popups

I have Windows XP Home edition which no longer deletes my internet history. To do this I use Norton Cleansweep which is only partially successful.
Also, even though I have Norton Internet Security I have noticed that I have just started getting quite a few popups. Also sometimes a diffrerent website comes up to the address I typed in.
Do I have to reinstall Windows XP again to cure these problems? If a Windows XP repair the answer do I have to backup all my data first or does the repair not erase data files?
Are there any other ways to solve my problems?
Many thanks to anyone who can help and explain it in SIMPLE terms.
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