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you may have your keyboard set to the wrong locale. UK English keyboards are different from US English - some critical keys, like @, are in different places.
In your computer settings, check keyboard setting are set appropriately. In Win7 it's in Control Panel>Clock, Language>Region>Keyboards.
if you can view your desktop and use the menus, go to start/all programs/accessories/system tools/system restore, if you had enabled this option earlier then you can restore the system to an earlier known date when you system worked.
else you can try installing winXP again, try the option to "Update" when the install option comes on.
else start PC, before the WinXp screen comes on press F8 key, use the Safe Mode to start PC, if you can see everything then shut down and restart in normal mode.
Did the computer retain your sign in settings (aka name you have for your account)?
If it did not, on boot up, a key may have been pressed that caused the compaq auto restore to begin. Compaqs are unique that they have the restore software on a partition of the main hard drive for a factory restore.
What operating system you are using before installing windows xp.
If it is windows 98, Your restore cd will restore windows 98.
if you want to restore to factory settings pls boot from the restore cd and format the harddisk. Becareful, this will erase your entire data on the harddisk which cannot be recover.
If you are using licenced (not pirated) windows xp boot from it and reinstall windows xp so that you can run the os smoothly.
But in either case becarefull when you are formating, it will destroy entire data and you may endup in soup.
feel free to revert back for further quiries