Last night I installed a new game (it was Championship Manager 03-04 if that helps). There were no problems during installation, and I did nothing else between that installation and when the problem began (other than running the game itself - and no-one else has had this problem with it that I know of).
Now, however, Internet Explorer will not open. Double-clicking the icon shows the hourglass, but then it vanishes and that's that. However, IEXPLORE.EXE is in the Processes window of the Task Manager, even though it is not in the Applications window.
Certain things still work fine - normal applications that do not need access to the Internet are ok, but, and forgive the over-specific example, trying to run an online multiplayer game results in the game appearing to start to open up, but then not opening. It's as if at some stage in the procedure for opening up something Internet-based, the process is halted, but with no error message or anything.
Two things I have noticed that are odd - first, restarting the machine now sometimes has WinXP displaying an error 'Cannot find 'copy' - please make sure it is in the correct location' or something like that, before Windows then opens up as normal.
Second, somtimes shutting down now hangs for a few seconds, before a box saying that 'SYSFADER' has stopped responding and will be shut down. I have no idea what SYSFADER is and I have no idea if that is connected to it all, although I suspect it must be.
I have uninstalled the game that started it all, tried using system restore but to no effect, and ultimately tried reinstalling WinXP, but that made no difference either.
One other thing. The program All Seeing Eye, which connects players to online games through a list of servers, opens up, and the servers can be refreshed (it happily pings them all) which suggests there is nothing actually wrong with the NTL cable connection (and everything else I could check with the connection also points to it being fine).
So I'm stumped. Has anyone got any ideas? Is this SYSFADER something to do with it?
Thanks in advance if you have any ideas,
p.s. I'm at work so can't test anything out until tonight (because I can't get the internet running at home!)