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Neighbours windows XP locks up

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Feb 25, 2002
My neighbour came around today for some help fixing his PC because it has a strange problem. The machine boots to the desktop and everything seems fine appart from there are no icons on the desktop and I cant click on the desktop either. If I right click on the desktop to bring up the menu, just nothing happens. So, I go into control panel through the start menu and click on display settings and set his wallpaper to none in case he has like a 50 meg bitmap as his desktop slowing everything down or something, then I double click on the System icon so I can check if theres any faulty devices and nothing happens. I then notice that nothing in control panel will open so I go into the start menu and the start menu locks up as I am browsing through. I reboot and it hangs at shutting down windows and I have to hit the reboot button. Then after its booted up again its the same thing, I can only open 1 thing from control panel, after that I get a few moments to change a few settings then explorer locks up.
So I look at his systray and he has like 15 icons taking up half his taskbar, there was everything there, lotus smartsuite stuff, MS office stuff, norton antivirus & internet security so I decide to get rid off it all becasue I was betting on it being some of the norton stuff so I use taskman to reboot (ohh yeah something else thats important I tell you, I go into taskman and even though the desktop and start menu are locked up, CPU usage is like 1 - 2 % and memory usage is about 90 meg, I look at processes and sure enough System idle process is at 98% ish but
I look at the User Name columb and its blank! so I cant see whats a system process and what the user is running, and nothing seems to be tieing up system resources!) .. anyway I reboot in safe mode this time and everything is fine! desktop icons are all there and I can click on them and right click on the desktop and bring up the menu. So I open the various norton apps and disable startup with windows then I delete everything from the windows Startup folder then I use regedit to delete everything from the RUN registry key except 5 or 6 things like the kernal fault check, then I reboot again in normal mode but its still the same thing. Desktop is locked up and start menu locks up a couple of minites later.
So there must be something that is starting up during a normal startup that isnt starting up during Safe Mode, and is causeing this problem. A setting maybe. Also, something is telling me it might be his modem software because he mentioned that he was having problems with his connection settings and every time I reboot the machine, I get a End Task window appear for RUNDLL32 , then after that I get another one for Explorer so I end them then it starts to shut down but hangs on Windows is now shutting down.
Tommorow I am going to try deleting his network connections and check out msconfig. I guess maybe I should have done that before butchering his registry :D but its cool I exported it first

The PC is a brand new Packard Bell pentium 4 machine with plenty ram and disk space etc.. I dont know the exact specs but I can find out if need be.

Does anyone have any ideas what might be causing this or have any suggestions on where to look next? Thanks
Boot into the CD for XP and select repair this instillation......See if that helps you or go to safe mode and select system restore select aday he knows the system worked ....
ahhh system restore! thats a good idea :) I feel almost 100% confident that will work because I'm sure its all the rubbish hes been installing and options hes changed that are causing it. Also you just reminded me of something, be bought the PC new as a complete system from Packard Bell with windows XP home edition installed, but they didnt give him a CD and when he asked for one they said theres no need theres a copy of it on your C: drive. But I thought it was law that they had to supply you with original copies off any software that is on your PC when you buy it?