OK, here's what I did to fix this. Although I would not recommend this as a conventional way to fix this problem, I had to roll the dice after exhausting all possible fixes I could find here and on the NET. A reformat would have been next.
I had a backup copy of the registry from before I put iTunes in. I merged that into the registry. Upon reboot the PC rebooted on it's own when trying to load windows. I then got the good 'ol "choice" screen and picked "Last known working configuration". The PC loaded to windows. I checked device manager and my cd-roms were back in the proper place at the top of the tree under "CD/DVD Drives". I then ran my PC Tools Performance Toolkit (reg cleaner) program and removed all of the reg entries that didn't belong (from uninstalled proggies,pictures,music,that were no longer on my system). So far the system is running fine.
Note: I've been using PC Tools Reg Mechanic (I got the Performance tool kit which is a high end version) for several years now and have found it to work great without screwing up my system. Just thought I would mention in the event someone is looking for a registry cleaner. I've tried several and to me this one is the best.
Thanks to everyone for your input. I'll be back later when my system crashes from this "fix"....lol.
Happy New Year
Edited by Allmanman, 01 January 2011 - 08:29 AM.