Just recently I have noticed that the Notepad and Excel file icons in My Documents and on my desktop have a red disc with an exclamation mark added to them. The files seem to open normally. The same files backed up to my external drive don't have the red disc. Any Ideas?
Have read through your link and I can't see that any of the solutions apply to mine, apart from the backup one. In my screenshot you will see that its happening to Open Office spreadsheet files (the one labelled Premium Bonds) as well as Excel and Notepad files.
something changed all the icons of notepad and excel to that red disk thing- This can be spyware or a setting which you may have enabled or changed. Why it does not show on the back-up is because the icon, stored in the windows folder, is not available anymore, so then it reverts back to the original icons for the files.
I would say that the files\docs is 100% fine, only showing a different icon.