I turned on my Dell Inspiron 6000 two days ago and saw that most of the icons on my desktop that represented programs were the generic icon, and the programs were not loaded-- the file extension was changed to "lnk". A windows error dialog box pops up and say Windows cannot open "....lnk" and then asks me how I want to open the file, either by going to the internet or from a pull down menu of loaded programs. (see attachment) But nothing works and I cannot open my programs (such as Power DVD, etc--I cannot even access the Dell System tools to wipe the hard drive). All I can do is access the internet via Explorer and get my Thunderbird email. I can also access my saved documents and photos, etc.
It's just the programs I can't open. It's so weird. This laptop has been nothing but trouble six months after I bought it. Once I started downloading updates for Norton and Windows it was the BSOD constantly. I did a System Restore, then a PC Restore and still had problems. I've run virus programs, spyware programs, etc. and cannot detect any viruses or other problems.
I tried booting into Safe Mode and got the same thing, generic icons and the file types changed to lnk -- I couldn't open anything other than My Computer, Explorer, My Documents, Thunderbird Email, and the Recycle Bin. WHAT GIVES???