Correct me please if I am wrong but even if I can identify and remove the bad installation this will not let me reinstall IE8, or will it.
If not then reluctantly it would appear that the best bet would be a complete XP reinstallation
If I have to do that I do have a back up of all my data on an external disc so should be ok in that respect but the only XP discs I have are the recovery discs I made when I first purchased the pc. I also have the original discs for my main design programmes. Is this all I would need and are there any other precautions you could suggest I take. I've never done this before but I presume it should be easy enough to follow Windows instructions.
I'm going to call it a night now and tomorrow, depending on what your reply, I will either try uninstalling one programme at a time or will perform full surgery, or try anything else you suggest..
Your advice would be appreciated.
Thanks again for all your help