It's like changing a flat tire without the tire, jack or tire iron.
But you could use a LIVE CD called Ubuntu to gain some use while you get your missing tools together.
is there an easy way to get my DELL XP machine back up and running? I've read some very involved procedures and don't have all the pieces necessary (or the patience)...ie i386 folder available. Ofcourse I can't find my original XP disks either. My machine hangs on the 'Sorry Windows didn't start properly' message and won't continue...I do not want to reinstall the OS. I assume the last software install (seagate disk wizard) pushed me over the limit and I don't have enough swap space left on my HD??? I only had about 2G left on a 18G drive.