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internet explorer will not run

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Internet explorer starts up but never fully loads before it automatically closes. two windows open but neither one loads. apparently this laptop had a virus and some of the registry keys were changed because the instructions to delete the virus said to change them. now the internet doesnt work and the laptop will not reformat. if there is another solution to fix the problem with the internet explorer other than reformatting the whole computer please let me know.
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If this has happened in the last few days you could access a restore point. The downside is you may re-infect your computer with the virus you just got rid of.
I would try the sfc command. From the Command line use sfc /scannow. I would boot to Safe Mode (F8) and start with "Safe Mode with Command line only". Have your XP CD on hand.
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