unable to access system restore

DELL INSPIRON 531 - MICROSOFT - VISTA HOME PREMIUM O.S.

I AM ABLE TO GET TO MY DESKTOP BUT FROM THERE I AM UNABLE TO OPEN A DOCUMENT, CONNECT TO THE INTERNET (I HAVE A VERIZON AIR CARD), OPEN CONTROL PANEL, OR ACCESS SYSTEM RESTORE.  WHEN I HIT CTRL, ALT, DELETE, I GET TO THE TASK MANAGER WINDOW BUT IT WILL NOT OPEN AND A VERY SMALL GREEN SQUARE APPEARS AT THE BOTTOM RIGHT SIDE OF MY MONITOR EVERYTIME I ATTEMPT TO GET TO THE TASK MANAGER.  I HAVE NOT BACKED UP ANY OF MY FILES AND WANT TO BE ABLE TO DO A SYSTEM RESTORE, BUT WHEN I CLICK ON IT - OR ON ANYTHING, NOTHING HAPPENS.  I AM EMAILING YOU USING MY DELL LAPTOP.
nancykayeAsked:
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LeeTutorConnect With a Mentor retiredCommented:
Do you have a Vista installation DVD?  If so, you can boot to it (perhaps after first going to the system BIOS to set your DVD drive as the first bootable device) and then either run System Restore from the Recovery Environment (Vista's substitute for the old XP Recovery Console) or run the System File Checker by typing the command SFC /SCANNOW at the Command Prompt.  

These two articles are useful in explaining how to use the Windows Recovery Environment:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial142.html
Using System Restore from the Vista Windows Recovery Environment

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial147.html
How to use the Command Prompt in the Vista Windows Recovery Environment
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rondawelConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Assuming that you have restore points to restore from, try this:
Start System Restore from a command prompt
http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/6b969e00-d4ec-4d3a-bffe-b96107e3bda91033.mspx 
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
nancykaye, any feedback?
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nancykayeAuthor Commented:
LeeTutor and Rondawel:
I have tried your suggestions to no avail.  When I get to the c:\Windows\system32> prompt and type in the path you suggested I use, the system did not allow me to type the entire path - it simply stopped displaying anything - I thought I would be able to delete "\Windows\system32> but was unable to do so.  
In addition, I need very specific direction with regard to using the Vista O.S. DVD which I have .. I was unable to get to what I think you said was "SYSTEM CONFIGURATION"?  And when you say that I should begin by making sure that the DVD is the "1st Driver", does that mean "REMOVABLE"? and if so, I need exact directions on how to get to the place I need to be to insert the Vista DVD - many thanks for your help.
Nancy Kaye
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
You really shouldn't have closed this question, since your problem apparently is not fixed.  Perhaps you can start a new one, and then it would be likely that you could get help from other experts than myself and Rondawel, who were the only ones that responded to this question.  But if you prefer to continue in this one, I can use my Page Editor powers at Experts-Exchange to mark this question as unanswered again, and we can proceed from your current state...

With so many things wrong with your system, I really think there are only two alternatives:  a) completely reinstall Vista and start over again -- but of course this will wipe out all your data, Microsoft updates you've installed, any programs you've installed, etc.    or b) you could try what is called a Vista repair install which should keep all of your data and installed programs.  That option is detailed on this web page:

http://vistasupport.mvps.org/repair_a_vista_installation_using_the_upgrade_option_of_the_vista_dvd.htm
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