1. Should work automatically, I think. If connected to the diskette slot on the motherboard a diskette drive should be recognized by the BIOS. Does the BIOS see it? If not, and it works on any other PC, ask HP why it doesn't work on this one.

2. What is drive F:? There must be some program running that does this. First try if it happens also if you boot in Safe Mode. Then try to find the culprit by
(a) unchecking and rechecking startup programs in MSCONFIG
(b) stopping services
(c) ending process after process from Task Manager.

3. That's strange. But it's only a minor nuisance, of course. One extra click on the welcome screen (if the password is blank).

4. We don't really believe in optimizers, but if you do, go ahead. Did you already try another download location? Are all downloads from CNET failing, or just this one? What is the exact link?