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"this program hasperformed an illegal operation"

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whilst on internet explorer (windows 98)I inadvertently pressed a button to download a file.. when a box came up saying "do you want to download this file" i pressed no/cancel. The box saying" this program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down." came up. i clicked 'close" but the box popped back up again - instead of the computer restarting which it usually does. The screen seems to be frozen. when i press on the icons on the rest of the desk top nothing happens. i have turned the computer off at the mains but when the desk top screen comes on the internet exporer icon - saying "this program has performed an illegal operation" is still there! What can i do? It just keeps popping up every time i press it!!! aghh!
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