Here's where I screwed it up, though. After uninstalling a bunch of stuff, I also got rid of the related icons on the desktop. Then I restarted the computer.
When the computer came back on, everything seemed to follow the usual procedure (all the normal noises and things on the screen) but when XP got to the actual desktop, the image was just a few thin horizontal lines of assorted coloured fuzz (like when your TV is on a non-channel).
I've likely inadvertently deleted some type of Video file.
What's my next move?