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Strange Problem

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My brother's laptop has had something quite weird happen to it. Basically, after restarting the computer it has suddenly changed appearance: the toolbar, start menu etc is all grey - almost like it's Windows 95 or something. It comes up with a message saying there's no sound, and it no longer detects network connections (so no internet), and it rarely reads cd's.

He's started it up in safe mode, and it's still the same - and restarting it does nothing. Because it doesn't allow internet connection anymore, he can't come on here himself, and because there is no way to bring Hijack This over to his computer I can't think of a way for him to show a log from that either.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what it could be? Any idea what's caused such a sudden, and strange change?

Thanks very much for any help,

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