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A problem I have never seen

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OK. A friend of mine's computer was running horribly slow and they complained about it all the time. When I came by it turned out that they couldn't even boot up the computer any more. She got an error message that would not allow her to continue. I booted in safe mode and attempted to format the C drive. It would not allow me do so, citing that there are active programs using it. So I reinstalled XP. It worked fine. But now I wake up and try to log on, and there is no Taskbar. I have tried ctrl-esc and hitting the 'windows' key. Nothing seems to work. How do I get my taskbar back, and why couldnt I reformat (I assume it is a malicious program of some kind, but I shut down all unnecessary processes before attempting to format).
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You are unlikely to format a drive with the operating system on

press ctrl + alt + delete keys together, you should get task manager, click file, new task, type explorer.exe then click OK
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