No, I don't mean that way, I mean because you're still having problems.
Ask away 5d, myself and the others here will try and help you. If I can help with the questions you've posed here and you have more questions, you may want to consider raising a new thread. That way, other people don't have to sift through a mountain of replies to see what is what.
Anyway, step by step;
Once you've got your computer back up and running, (or it seems you have already), check to see if System Restore is turned on.
The best way for you is to use "Help and Support" in the Start Menu. Type in System Restore and in the "Pick a task" list on the left is "Turn on System Restore". CLick that, and in the right pane you will see step 1, Open "System Properties". Click the underlined "Properties" and this will take you direct to System Restore on/off. Make sure there is no tick in the "Turn off System Restore" and under Disk space usage move the slider to Max. It should max out at 12% of your hard disk space.
Another way to get here is Start > Control Panel > System icon, click the System Restore tab.
Click Apply/OK as necessary, then it would be advisable to set a restore point. In Help and Support go back to the first page, click Performance and Maintenance, click "Using System Restore to undo changes", then in the right window find and click the "Run System Restore Wizard". (You can also find the wizard from the Start Menu, Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore). Follow the instructions to create a restore point.
It's really difficult to tell someone how often they should backup because eveyone's use of their computer is different. I can only say what I do.
I "don't" backup programs, or the Windows/System32 folder. I don't see the point because programs install files all over the computer and you're never likely to get a backup like that to restore properly.
I "do" create a System Restore point before I install any major programs, or before I upgrade any programs, or upgrade Windows, (Windows Update).
I "do" create backup CD's or DVD's of all my important documents, photos, music, videos, etc.
I also "export" my address book, (for email), Favorites, (for IE), Bookmarks, (for Firefox), to the desktop, and then back these up onto a CD.
If I am backing up to a CD, I make sure the recording session is "closed". Burning to a CD can be left open or can be closed. If it is left open, the CD can be used again to record another session if need be. But a CD left open may not be able to be read by another CD ROM, (or in the case of a complete re-install of an operating system after a major crash, by the same CD ROM).
If I make any changes to all these files, I backup the changes, even if it means making a new disk.
I try, (but I am not very successful), to keep uptodate a simple Word or Excel list of everything I have backed up to CD/DVD, and number the CD/DVD's accordingly.
I also make a note of my ISP connection settings and email POP and SMTP server settings, including username and password, and either print these out or copy the document to a CD. This has saved me expensive phone calls to my ISP many times.
Difficult one this 5d.
On your computer there are two places you can check for programs set to run at startup or running in the background.
Startup - Goto Start > Run, type in "msconfig" (without the quotes). In the System Configuration Utility, click the Startup tab. Here you can see what programs are set to run at startup. You can make changes here, although I feel it is best to track down the programs where you can and check their Options or Preferences and de-select "Run at startup", or "Place in System Tray, (Notification Area)" options.
If you decide to de-select in the System Configuration Utility, go back to the General Tab first and choose "Selective Startup", then return to the Startup tab and de-select them as you wish. Doing it this way, when you click "apply" you will be asked to reboot the computer, and on reboot, you will get a message warning you that you are on a selected startup. You can suppress that message until the next time you make any changes.
There is a useful web site at;
which lists startup programs. It is not easy to navigate, but is a good site.
Running Processes - Right click the Taskbar and choose Task Manager, (or press CTRL+ALT+DEL). Click the Processes tab and this lists all the processes running in the background. For Windows XP there is always a large number.
There is no easy way to explain all these. I don't know them all. But this web site;
lists them by alphabetical order, and is very useful as it explains what each does, and whether it is necessary, useless, or a virus/malware.
There's lots of information available about protecting your computer in the Virus & Security Alerts forum, (link on the left), but also if you look at this thread reply I gave a while ago, that may help you;
Lots of information here, and you may want to print it all out, (copy the text, and paste into Word, or whatever you use).
Knight in shining armour? Yep, I can live with that,