To try to fix it, I booted from the CD and tried to run the recovery console (as I have done in the past). I get to the part where it finds the old installation and asks me to select the one for repair. When I enter 1, it then asks for the administrator password which I did not set. This was an OEM (dell) version of windows so the last time I went through this, I just left it blank and hit enter. This time if I leave it blank, it says invalid password. I also tried installing from the CD and it seems to work, but gets to the part where I pick the partition to install it on and shows up my old windows. If I pick that one, it says that I should not install 2 operating systems on one partition. If I continue, it then wants me to format the partition, which I have been unwilling to proceed through at this point.
I was reading through the forums and found some info on puppy linux, which I will definitely try to retrieve all my data, but that still leaves my computer in non-functioning condition.
I know I am on sketchy ground as far as getting help on the password thing, so I am open to any suggestions. Is it possible to stop the new install and revert to the old system? Will I have to buy a new version of Windows? If I do buy a new version of Windows and finish the install, will it erase all of the data? Any help is greatly appreciated.