Question about Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

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Fellow "expert" seeking advise

My kids were screwing with my computer. (sounds bad already ?) One was doing some shopping research before "black Friday" and the other decided to download a game (try it on dad's computer, if it was OK, THEN he'd download it to his. You can tell this kid is in college!)
This is a Dell Dimension XPS with Windows XP
I look at the "to begin, click your user name...." screen and see he has 14 programs running. I log off the computer and restart it. Without even clicking on a user ID I hear what sounds like the BBC on the headphones. (son #3 already stole the speakers from me) and a "Target" store pop-up comes up in a bit, still before I even click on a user ID. At this point I was still able to log onto the internet using explorer, but it often "encoutered a critical error" and explorer would close.
I manage to log on to my user ID and attemp to do a virus scan (using Ad-Aware), but after a short (maybe three or four minutes) time (and already showing over 200 "critical" items I get an error message of some sort and windows shuts down.
Now, I can only start up my computer and get to the "to begin, click your user name" page. I can move the pointer with the mouse, but that's all.

I'm guessing I'll have to wipe my system and re-install Windows XP ?
Is there anyway to retrive any of my files ? Nothing super critical in them, but it would be nice to save several of them.
How does one go about these processes ? What do you suggest?
I'm not the greatest with computers, but with Dell's tech support I have managed to re-install Windows 98 on the computer I'm on now many years ago (which was a real pain in the ***) and I did do Windows XP (much easier) on the computer I'm talking about several years ago with Dell's help.
"..... Now, type this exactly as I say,.... A as in apple, V as in boy, C as in" wait,.... did you say Vee as in boy? "Yes, that is correct, V as in boy,..."

Not looking for you to give me a hour's worth of advice for free, just give me your thoughts as to how I should proceed. Thanks

Posted by on

  • Carl Schulzetenberg
    Carl Schulzetenberg Dec 07, 2008

    Thanks for the fast response and the info. Don't know how I'd be able to do that inplace upgrade if I can't get past the user log in screen. Think I'll just pack it all up and take it to someone to help me this time. As a follow up, I've always used either Macafee or Norton on my computers. Is there something out there that is better which you would recomend?

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I often wipe my hard drive and start with a clean install as I evaluate so many applications and occasionally venture to new sites that leave a lot of debris. When I am remiss in backing up important or irreplaceable data I do an inplace upgrade http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315341, a link to save typing, or a parallel installation of Windows on a separate partition so I can at least boot up and then burn the data I need to disk before doing a clean install that always works best Fortunately with Dell you have access to all of the drivers you need online if you do not have a driver disk. If you have any trouble don't hesitate to call on me again. regards, Steve Medley

Posted on Dec 07, 2008

  • Stephen Medley
    Stephen Medley Dec 07, 2008

    If you have more than one partition then boot to the XP cd where you will be able to install or repair. Install to the other partition (the partitions will be listed for you) than where xp is now installed. That is the parallel installation. If you install Windows over the same partition, choosing not to format (leave intact) you will have the Windows files overwritten without losing the personal data. I will help you through this if you choose to continue but if you have a second head to use where you are it is always much easier when one can see what junctures you are at in person. 
      Another way is to remove the hard drive and slave it to another to save your files.
      I use Trend Micro because it has a good history of security but is not as "noisy" as Norton or McAFee with regards to extraneous messages -it works but quietly in the background is my experience.
    Good luck, thanks for the rating but don't hesitate to ask more if you need. Regards, Steve

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