Ok few new turnabouts.
For one my internet connection is slow so this is all taking some time.
Somewhere along the way it was suggested that I download Critical Update For Windows XP: 885523
Downloaded and installed it. Seems to be holding fine.
ran sfc /scannow
ran all the way through with no errors
ran the dell diagnostic but it wouldn't complete. It told me to go to http://msdn2.microsoft.com/netframework/
and download .Net Framework & then re-install the dell diagnostic
the only problem is when I go there I cannot find what to download. I even go to the download tab but there are so many choices with similar names that I am not sure what to download
ran chkdsk /f and when it opted me to schedule it to start on restart I said yes and it did. however i think i need to redo it because i forgot to write in the /r
looked at the even viewer. quite a few alerts and errors. could be because it's just being twitchy without sp2 but we'll see.
one seemed important: WPA_NOT_ACTIVATED Message: Your Windows product has not been activated with Microsoft yet. Please use the product activation within %1 days. So ok I'll activate right. But the instructions it gives me doesn't work: Go to start menu, point to all programs, and then click activate windows. <----------Activate Windows is not where it says it is.
Then tells me to go to run and type %windir%\system32oobe\msoobe.exe/a
I type it and it tells me it can't find it.