OP said, "I set it up and got rid of things I won't ever use"
What was deleted? How was it removed? It is common for new users to have to reinstall (I did so myself many times when new to Linux) because of an unwitting mistake in removing files. Do not be afraid of it, just accept it as a rite of passage.
If the PC is older than say five years, a 'buntu like xubuntu 12.04.2 may be more desirable than the latest ubuntu.
If a root password is desired, I would recommend first disconnecting any wired or wireless connection to the internet and then going to a teminal and typing in the command
sudo passwd root
and following instructions,
There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation.
W. C. Fields