To repair such I use the XP CD and try a "repair install." The repair install is widely documented on google.com
-> If there is no OS CD please tell which OS CD you have. If none, go get yours and then we can continue.
I just received a free computer from a friend that she says was working when she shut it down. When I put it together and booted it, it goes to the desktop picuture but there are no desktop icons, start menu, tool bar or task manager. It is running XP and will start ok in safe mode. I ran a virus scan and that's ok. I tried system restore and it didn't help. I read somewhere to do diagnostic startup but that didn't work either. I don't have Internet set up on that computer because I would have to install the cable modem. So, downloads are not an option. I also do not have any discs to help me clean boot it. Any suggestions?