Have you ever backed up your registry?
If you have, and can restore it try to do so now.
If that is not possible:
Do you have the Dell PC Restore disk or a hidden partition Dell may have placed on your hard drive that will accomplish a complete restoration of youyr system to like it was when it was new?
"Dell PC Restore by Symantec is available on Dimension and Inspiron systems that shipped on or after 7/16/2004 in the Americas and 8/30/2004 in Europe."http://support.dell.com/support/topics/glo...&c=us&cs=&s=gen
I usually do not paste an entire article into the forum from somewhere else, but since you are having a problem and may not be able to access your browser I will paste most of the directions regarding how to use Dell's PC Restore that are on the Dell website.
Disconnect your computer from the internet before beginning this process and make sure the Windows XP firewall is enabled before you reconnect it to broadband. If your computer did not come with SP2 installed your firewall will not be on by default. Neither will your anti-virus ap be installed and operating.
Back Up Your Data
You should back up all user data to avoid data loss prior to proceeding with the operating system repair.
NOTE: The most common locations for user data include the following: e-mail folders, address books in e-mail programs, My Documents folders, your Desktop, Favorites, Web browser bookmarks, and any other data that has been created by specific applications as a precaution.
You may find the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles useful:
Q308422 —"How To Use Backup to Back Up Files and Folders on Your Computer in Windows XP"
Q195719 —"How to Back Up, Restore, or Move Outlook Data"
Q188854 —"How to Back Up the Outlook Express Address Book and Mail Folders"
NOTE: Test the backup copies by accessing them before you begin preparing the hard drive to ensure the copies are good.
Remove All External Devices Before Reinstalling Windows XP
See the list below for examples of devices that need to be removed:
* Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
NOTE: If you have a Dell Portable system remove any external monitors, keyboards, or mice.
Perform a PC Restore of the operating system.
To perform a restore of the operating using PC Restore, perform the following steps:
NOTE: Dell PC Restore by Symantec is available on Dimension and Inspiron systems that shipped on or after 7/16/2004 in the Americas and 8/30/2004 in Europe.
1. Power the computer on.
2. When the Dell screen appears press and hold the <Ctrl> key on the keyboard, press the <F11> key, then release them both at the same time.
The Dell PC Restore by Symantec window appears.
NOTE: Press the keys one time only. If you press them more than once, a keyboard error occurs and the process has to be initiated again.
3. Click the Restore button or press the <Tab> key to highlight Restore and press the <Enter> key.
A caution message appears advising that all data will be lost.
4. Click the Confirm button or press the <Tab> key to highlight Confirm and press the <Enter> key.
The Progress window appears. Once the process is begun, Dell PC Restore usually takes only 8 to 10 minutes to complete.
When the restore is complete, the message The system recovery process was successful appears.
5. Click the Finish button or press the <Tab> key to highlight Finish and press the <Enter> key.
The computer will restart. Your software is now as it was when you first received your computer. Perform Windows Update after Installing Windows® XP
If you performed any Windows Updates prior to reinstalling the operating system, the files are no longer installed. It is highly recommended to perform the Windows Updates to obtain security patches, fixes, and most importantly, to help protect you from unauthorized Internet attacks.http://support.dell.com/support/topics/glo...&c=us&cs=&s=gen
You will also need to reinstall any programs that did not come preinstalled on your computer.
The above process will destroy all data. Hopefully you will have had it backed-up.
If you have your anti-virus application on a cd, install it before reconnecting to the internet. If not, once you are certain that your firewall is functioning I would download and install one immediately after going to Windows Update and installing all Critical Updates.
The next step is to download and reinstall all your anti-malware aps.
Here are some that are recommended:Freeware AntiSpyware and Security ProgramsSoftware firewalls with freeware versions
(Run only one and disable the ineffective Windows XP firewall)
Zone Alarm: http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/cata...g=en&lid=nav_za
(you can have only one software firewall running. More than one will conflict)Antivirus programs - freeware
(you can only use one resident anti-virus program on your computer. More than one will conflict)
Avast Anti-virus freewarehttp://www.komando.com/bestshareware.aspAnti-malware freeware
(You can run as many of these as you wish. Generally there is no conflict between these and you should always run several since each may find malware that the others may not find)
Ad-Aware SE Personal - freeware http://www.lavasoft.com/
Click on Adaware SE Personal in “Products” on the left side of the page
Or it may be easier to find it here:http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/Adawa...nal/965718306/1
Spybot S&D: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html
Be sure to enable “Teatimer” which gives you realtime protection against malware invasion. (absolutely necessary)
Microsoft Windows Defender http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/s...re/default.mspx
This also provides realtime protection. (absolutely necessary)
Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (Win XP and Win 2000):http://www.microsoft.com/security/malwareremove/default.mspx
A˛ - Free from http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4281.html
. Run it, click Search for Updates, then click Scan.