Don't know if this help anyone ever but just in case.
Here's how this resolved; After spend all that time and money with MS, got past the reload problem but it didn't resolve what I was trying to deal with. I was still getting multiple Explorer windows and it was freezing up constantly. So I figured best thing to do was to save the data and do a complete OS reload. Since we'd used 60 of the 80 GB on the HD already, installing a second HD seemed to make sense. I'm not a computer person so I took it into those who had put the machine together. They installed a 500 GB HD. I brought it home and couldn't find this new addition, took it back and they put a magic disk in for a minute and said maybe said some magic words - I don't know and told me all would be fine now.
But it wasn't, the OS was a mess and frozen. SOOO back into the shop, this time they are going to move my data for me and then I will reload the OS. They do this and call to tell me that the original HD is toast (nice with breakfast - not good in the computer). Alrighty, the data has been moved to the 'E' drive and I give the OK to replace the original HD.
Now I have a tetra byte of HD, Oh did I mention, had to get a new motherboard to handle all this with 2 GB RAM? Now we (meaning me and Master Card) are $700 into this. Take it home. Remember I'm not a computer person and the guys at the store are very aware of this having had quite a bit of me in their lives recently. With an air of anticipation, I pop in the Windows disk, and hit a question about formating. I call the store, "which do I choose, what does this mean?" the freindly voice on the line, tells me what to do and unbeknownst me, seals my data fate.
When all is done, I can't find the 'E' drive to reclaim the data I paid to have moved there. It's not on MyComputer, a search doesn't find any of the folders - nothing. You Guessed it - back to the shop (end count was 7 trips, I've done some condensing). They mess around and find it's in the bios (that's apparently not a biography in the sense I understand it). So what has happened?Well that formatting went on the 'E'drive and then the OS went there and away went my data. We had a long sad talk about this and about how people who are in business primarily to service those who can't do something for themselves need to be dealt with in ways to make things as idiot proof as possible. I used to sew professionally, I wouldn't expect my clients to know how to make a pattern, let alone put the garment together, if there some part they were planning to do I would make it as fail proof as possible. They did a data recovery for free (this is the data, I'd paid them to move and save for me) and recovered just under 8 GB out of 60 (20 of that would have been software) fortunately what they recovered was the irreplaceable portion. This was an expensive, stressful, time consuming, lesson.
So now we have an internal backup and will be using it religiously, new security and a wacking big MC bill.