I've read the answers out here to most of the Java issues that sound like mine and don't see the answer.
Here's the situation: I have XP SP2 that I've loaded from CD - full, Professional version. I've then installed all critical updates as well as downloaded/installed Windows VM. Then I went to Java.com and loaded the most recent version of Java. It refuses to work. When I go to Java's own "test your install" it comes up with the red "X". I've followed all their instructions w/o success. I've reinstalled manually, I've checked all browser and Console settings. I've even gone down the Advanced settings sitting side-by-side with a PC that loads just fine - I can not find anything wrong with the settings. The only thing I can see is the PC that works has an older version of Java along with the upgraded version.
It makes no difference if I stay with IE6 or upgrade to IE7 - neither will work.
I'm open to suggestions, please.