I am really in a jam! I suddenly was unable to access the internet today and spent a total of about 3 hrs (in different sessions) on the phone with Comcast Tech Support. After doing lots of diagnostics, they finally concluded that the problem wasn't on their end, but that I probably had a virus/trojan, etc. So I brought my laptop (Dell Inspiron 2650--just out of warranty of course!) to my office to see if I could get on the internet (to rule out a problem with Comcast). It was the first time I tried to boot up since the last Comcast Tech guy had me doing all kinds of stuff including editing the registry. It starts to boot up, seemingly without a problem. The desktop (picture) appears, but no icons or taskbar ever show up.
Windows XP came pre-loaded without a restore CD (last time I'll do that!) so I can't try that route.
I tried System Restore during startup (F8) and rolling to "last known good configuration" with no change. Then I tried it again but, this time, chose "Safe Mode" but got this error: multi(0)disk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS\systerm32\ntoskrnl.exe
Had to reboot to get rid of that screen.
By the way, I'm a modestly knowledgable user, but I follow directions really, really well.
I'm desperate! So any and all suggestions are welcome!