Thanks for your patience, with all my "simple" questions. OK, so no Vista. That's probably good b/c he only has 1Gb of RAM. Are you saying he only needs the Linux if he needs to recover files? If so, then I can skip that step b/c he saved the few files he had to a thumb drive. Then it sounds like I still need to find a new copy of WinXP somewhere, to reload the OS. Is it still available?
I have a feeling that he may have some kind of virus b/c it is acting so weirdly. Whenever I try to go to a website that might help with the problem, I get some kind of error message, saying the server is unavailable, or something like that. I have no problem getting into the same websites, however, on my other computers. In fact, I bought a copy of BitDefender, to put on the computer. I had to go to another computer and save the EXE file to a memory card and then take it upstairs to his. Then, when I tried to install it, I got an error message, telling me there was a problem installing the software. The dialog box suggested running an online scan. When I attempted that, I got another warning about not being able to do that. Doesn't that sound suspicious?
I did go into Task Manager and disable a bunch of programs that had the word McAfee in them. Could that cause a problem with installing BitDefender? Also, I went into Add/Remove Programs and got rid of some unneded programs. One of them was a program called burrito.exe. My son didn't remember installing anything like that, so I removed it. When I ran AdAware, it flagged burrito.exe as a problem and tried to remove it. I don't know if it was successful. Could burrito.exe be some kind of malware?
Sorry, for all the questions, but I'd really like to be able to get this fixed for him. I'm his hero, don'tcha know?!