The F2/F12 options are from the BIOS on he motherboard.
I looked at at the manual here: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/syst.../CR532A01MR.pdf
and it tries to help you know what to do when offered the menus and some troubleshooting.
It tells you what the beep codes mean when you power up, so you need to pay attention to them and if yo uhave more than one short beep, diagnose the problem.
The manual also describes how to clear (sort of like a reset) of the CMOS where BIOS and configuration settings are saved. This will set your settings back to defaults, so you may need to know a little about your hardware to set things up properly inthe BIOS after it is cleared (if you choose to clear it). Sounds like the CMOS is whacked.
If you can get into the BIOS, you can check to see if it even sees your hard disk and maybe tell it to find it if it is missing.
I would consider it unlikely that malicious code from an email will do anything to your BIOS settings and you can't seem to even get to the point where XP tries to load (then F8 would be work). It sounds like you don't even get tothe point that it sees a hard disk and tries to find an operating system. You need to make sure the BIOS recognizes your hard disk and if not, tell it so.
Since it is take-apart-able, you may want to unplug it, remove the cover and reseat all the modules (RAM, video card if applicable, etc.), power it back up and see.
If that doesn't work, you can consider clearing the CMOS while you have the cover off.
You should read the parts of the manual that describe the F2/F12 options and what they do, the section on beep codes, and the part about clearing the CMOS.
This is probably what they would to if you took it someplace and it doesn't sound like it can't get much worse!
Edited by joseibarra, 05 June 2009 - 07:05 PM.