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Windows XP Active Desktop Recovery

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I have recently had a major problem with my laptop. It is a an IBM Thinkpad T42 running Windows XP, 1.5 gHZ processor (please let me know if you need more system information). My problem started yesterday when I was watching a video on youtube and IE completely froze. It stayed frozen for about 25 minutes so I pressed the power button on my computer to shut it off, waited a while, then turned it back on. However when I tried turning it back on, it would go to the Windows log-in screen and allow me to log-in, but after loading 4 or so icons from the system tray in the bottom right corner of the screen, it would freeze and not go any further. This happens about 80% of the time. The other 20% it eventually gets past that and loads the rest of the tray and my desktop icons, but has the "Active Desktop Recovery" prompt in the background. The main problem is that even when it gets to that point, I can't open anything (explorer, desktop properties, etc.). I click on them and I get the hourglass for 5 seconds but nothing ever opens (the only thing I actually could open is the taskbar properties window, for some reason).

This is a lot worse than most of the "Active Desktop Recovery" threads I've found on this forum because I can't open anything for editing purposes. Hopefully someone can help. Also let me know if any more system information is needed. Thank you very much for your time.

I'm not sure if it is pertinent information but I will try to provide any information that could help others help me out. One note is that I believe my computer is running service pack 3 (has been for a few weeks and this is the first major problem that has occurred). I also tried running Last Known Good Configuration and the same problems occur. I also tried running safe mode a couple of times and every time it looks like it's running some things in the command prompt, freezes for a bit, then gives me the blue screen of death.
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