In your explanation of events, I do not see where you installed any drivers on the No.3 machine. Good starting point would be to look in "Device Manager" to see if there is a problem that could be solved there. What make model is No.1? Normally OEM XP does not work on a different machine. Is No.1 also a HP or Compaq?
The only way I can get started is Control/Alt/Delete, which raises Task Manager, then enter URL for Internet Explorer (.exe) to get into the internet, then either hit the Read Mail button to get Outlook Express, or enter the Outlook Express URL into Task Manager.
Can't access C-drive at all. Haven't tried A or D drives yet
How do I get the Start Menu and Desktop up?
This machine (No. 3) is a Compaq Deskpro, which I was given, but minus an operating system. Didn't use it for a couple of years, then my main machine (No. 1) lost its hard disc and OS, and despite expenditure on recovery, it went again. Can't trust it any more.
Took the OEM XP OS disc for No. 1, put it on No. 3, and activated it thru Microsoft (no problems). Took all updates from Windows Update (nearly two hours), loaded antivirus software.
When I start up No. 3 machine (i.e. this one I am using now) it goes through the usual motions, and first I get the 'Bliss' wallpaper, then I get a completely blank screen with green wallpaper but nothing on it whatsoever except my mouse pointer, which activates nothing because there is nothing there to activate. No desktop, no task bar, no menu button.
So all this machine is good for at present is Internet and Email. I suppose I should be grateful that the machine cost me nothing in the first place, but that is not the main emotion I am feeling.
Can anybody solve this problem, please?
P.S. - Back to dead Machine No. 1, loaded Linux with CD Rom, which works OK for internet and mail, but can't be installed 'cos there's no C-drive to take it. Nevertheless have used it via disk several times because it's VERY FAST. [Machine No. 2 is my old Windows '98 model, still chugging along when required].