yeah, it's becoming very clear how important it is for me to somehow get HijackThis to run.
This is what I tried-
from the start button the "programs" menu will not open, so I can't get to "accessories" and system restore from there.
so I followed the MS help "How to start the System Restore tool at a command prompt in Windows XP" link and followed those instructions which entails booting in the safe mode with command prompt. when I did this, after entering the command they list, I get:
"System Restore is not able to protect your computer. Please restart your computer, and then run system restore again."
did this 2 more times- no luck.
Then, booted again with F8 and instead of entering the "Safe Mode with a command prompt option" I chose the "start from the last configuration that worked" (or something like that) which was an option below the former. Got the same desktop with 1/2 my icons "strange" and same error message when trying to open HijackThis.
I will now try just booting into Safe Mode alone and see if I can open HijackThis. Also changed the name of HijackThis and that didn't help either.
At some point trying to do something in XP I got Windows cannot open "rundll32.exe"- is this program needed to open anything by any chance?
is my PC a goner?
Thanks for your suggestion,