Aspen: i think you are right... thank you very much. howver, im in an XP Home edition where nobody has passwords. when i go into the recovery console, it asks for a password and i just hit enter. when i try your expand command, it just says acess denied and returns to d:/i386: can you help me? i am so close to getting this over with. by the way, in the meantime, after I log in, i must kill the userinit processes and i am free of problems, but i have to do this every time i log in.!