It seems that you don't have an adequate AntiVirus program. This sounds like you may have a Trojan in your syetem, and your registry is completely knackered. Try this: Go into `Run', type SFC /SCANNOW. Someone also suggested AVG. It is `Free' and much better than Norton/Symantec. Failing that I suggest something I swore I'd never suggest, Doing a Destructive/Non-Destructive Recovery. This will set you r PC back to its original settings whenever it was shipped. It will also reformat your hard drive. However, a non-destructive recovery will reinstall youur OS, in your case Windows XP. In either case make sure you backup all your data beforehand.
One final word of warning thoough, "Do not under any circumstances approach HP for advice". They will give you incompetent and downright irresponsible advice, which could make things a lot worse.
Okay, about a week or so ago I started to notice some changes with my computer. First and foremost, Firefox was crashing a lot. Then, as time went on, Windows Media Player and other programs began to crash regularly as well. In some cases I would double-click on an icon and the crash message would come up so I couldn't even open it. This would happen again and again until I restarted my computer, but that led to another problem. As time went on, say a few days or so, my computer would restart when I would click on certain icons (I didn't notice any pattern) and load up normally to the Windows XP welcome screen, then reboot again. It would do this twice or three times back-to-back in most instances. By this time I was getting pretty frustrated and was running Ad-Aware and a demo of Trend Micro PC-Cillin constantly (they are the only anti-virus programs I have) but it wasn't finding an inordinate number of problems, nor was it finding the particular virus that was causing me so much grief. It's gotten steadily worse since then, but now the sound has been dropping out on me. I used to just not have any sound in Firefox, but as of yesterday I have not been able to hear any system sounds or music from external applications (I used to be able to do this). I looked in the control panel and what happens is that it doesn't recognize that any sound device is attached, but all the options are grayed out so I can't change them. I downloaded the nVidia nForce audio driver off the website and it would temporarily reinstate sound capabilities, but sure enough I would lose sound in another few minutes. I did this over and over again, but the virus must have eventually caught up with it, because now when I try to do that, it tels me the installer itself is corrupt and unreadable. Furthermore, it has recently been recognizing my sound device, but I can get no sound whatsoever out of it. My programs are still crashing, I have no sound at all, my computer is still restarting at random and it's driving me insane. I have to fix this; any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure whether this is one problem or multiple, but it didn't show up on the Symantec free scan and it seems to be getting worse and worse.
Here are my system specs:
Windows XP Home Edition (Service Pack 2)
AMD Sempron 3000+ (1.99Ghz)
1.18 Gb of RAM
The programs that seem to be crashing most are Firefox and Windows Media Player, but it's not unusual for Windows Explorer or, for that matter, any program I have open to crash.