Using a browser and one wrong OK and you could see this happen. Usually we can use System Restore to go back to when it worked. But since you can't click on stuff we have to use the method at this link -> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/279736
Suddenly, nothing seems to behave as it should. Some examples of what I am seeing on my Win XP Home Edition service pack 2 system:
-- applications do not launch or open anymore from the taskbar or from program tree
-- right mouse-ing on any icon reveals a context menu that has been trimmed of choices such as OPEN or Run As..
-- Click Start, Run, and typing CMD results in a "cannot find" error message
-- Right mouse on My Computer and click of Properties does nothing
-- Several icons in quick launch area of taskbar (and others on the desktop) have been changed to the "generic default". I seem to be able to change them but they don't "stay" that way across reboots of the system
-- The "system tray" area of the taskbar used to have several icons always resident there but now just the clock.
I was able to launch VirusScan 8.0 from McAfee and do a complete scan of my only local harddrive C and found no viruses. The virus definition file was very recently updated.
The only thing I can think of that is new on this system is that I updated Mozilla Firefox to Version 2.0 recently.
One last item of strangeness is that I can launch IE7 or Firefox from the Start->All Programs tree but not from shortcuts in the taskbar. Yet nothing else seems to be able to start in this manner. I can bring up control panel but I cannot get "Add Remove Programs" to do anything. I would love to be able to fire up some anti-spyware I've got such as Ad-Aware and/or Spybot Search and Destroy but I cannot get these things to launch.
This is a private laptop (Dell Inspiron 700) that only I use. It is protected by a router and the Windows SP2 firewall is always ON. This is my tale of woe. Does this sound like any symptom anyone else has recovered from ? Any suggestions?