Toshiba Laptop Windows XP loading probs, error messages, slow program loading, chkdsk not working

Toshiba Tecra A1Laptop, 512mb memory, 40 gb hd, Wlindows XP pro, Avast antivirus:  (Ithink) my problems began when I installed IE 8.  Did not work well, so I tried to uninstall it and began having probs:  IE 8 would not fully uninstall, could not use my Firefox.  used my restore, but could not restore to a point BEFORE I downloaded IE 8; used chkdsk /r and regained use of Firefox.  My System Mechanic 6 no longer works, it gets stuck at 20% when trying to optimize/clean my system.    

Tried to gain some speed and deleted some startup programs, also tweeked my Bootcfg from a modified boot to default (did not write down the modified boot cfg) and things REALLY SLOWED DOWN.  Began to take several mins for Windows to load; programs took even longer to respond; taskbar at bottom of screen takes   3-5 mins to respond.

Downloaded AVast and found a virus (win32.ctx); removed virus, used chksdk /r; programs STILL slow to load and taskbar very slow to respond; restarted and was sent to page asking to start in SAfe Mode; tried to start in SAfe mode, but computer 'stuck'; restarted and returned to same page, several times.  Never could I start in Safe Mode.  I inserted my WINDOWS XP disk and tried to repair with chksdk /r.  Found some unrepairable probs, but still could not start windows.  decided to reinstall windows but got the following errors: Disk Read Error   An error occurred while Setup was updating partition information, setup can not continue.

Tried to reinstall several times, no luck. Used Fixboot to make a new boot sector.  Removed CD and tried to restart: it, miraculously, started!!!

Reran the AVAST scan, found the virus, again, removed it.  Went to Blackviper.com and used its ServiceCFG to identify which services I could safely disable.  Downloaded EVEREST HOME EDITION and located some kind of fatal error on my HDD, but did not fix.

Tried to defrag my HD (stuck at 3% for over 12 hours, then system restarted) and came back with a KERNAL STACK INPAGE ERROR.  I have not been able to load Windows XP since.  That was this morning.  Next restart came up with: A disk read error occurred, press Ctl Alt Del to restart.  each restart brings me to same sceen.

Inserted Windows XP disk to try to use chkdsk /r, some kind of unrecoverable error and it won't fix or move.    Tried FIXBOOT, again.  Won't work.  Comes up with some kind of wrong disk drive error (I forgot to write this one down)  Can't use FIXMBR, either.  HAVE NOT TRIED TO REINSTALL WINDOWS XP, again.  When I EXIT disk, it acts like it might load, then gives me a black screen.

ANY IDEAS/SUGGESTIONS would be helpful.  I've got over 40 hours in surfing the net and researching these errors/problems.

Main questions:
1.  How can I get back into Windows?  If I'm to reinstall XP, how do I format disk before install?
2.  If I can get back into Windows without the format/reinstall, how do I speed up my program and taskbar response time?
3.  Any ideas on how to get rid of IE 8? (I have SP3)

Thanks for you time in reading my LONG description.  I wanted to provide as much info as possible.  (I'm on my desktop, btw)
semarlo2Asked:
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semarlo2Author Commented:
additional info:
I tried to restart and pressed F8, I got to 'Safe Mode' screen and was able to select safe mode.  My system acted as if it might load, but gave me the following messge:
   <Windows Root>\System32\ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupt

Again, tried to restart, Safe Mode screen came up.  I tried "last known good configuration", but came up with this message:
   \Windows\System32\Config\System missing or corrupt

How do I copy these files from my install CD to my Windows files?  Any ideas on what's happening to my system that is causing these problems?
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flubbsterCommented:
You best bet is to use the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset, formerly known as ERD Commander. This will allow you to boot into a windows environment and attempt to repair the system. It allows disk repaiors, file copying, system restores, and many other utilities. Download the program from here:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5D600369-0554-4595-8AB4-C34B2860E087&displaylang=en

Download file. Execute it. It creates an iso file. Burn the iso file to a cd. Boot the CD.
You can now copy the missing/corrupt system file from the c:\windows/repair folder to your c:\windows\system32 folder. Note that the system file in the repair folder is named. system.bak  Rename it before copying to remove the .bak extension. As for the ntoskrnl.exe file, copy it from your c:\windows\Driver Cache\i386 folder to your c:\windows\system32 folder. If you can't find it there, you may have to extract it from a .cab file, usually c:\i386\driver.cab. Again, you can do this from the windows environment you have booted to.

gl...
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semarlo2Author Commented:
After the last tries, I was able to get my install disk chkdsk /r to work (sort of).  It is SLOWLY rebuilding or repairing files/segments/whatever (been repairing for 3 hours and is only on 20%, now).

As soon as it is done, I will try your suggestion and report what I accomplished.  

Should I be able to get my Windows repaired, HOW DO I SPEED UP MY PROGRAMS AND TASK BAR's RESPONSE times?  When I download something it takes over 1/2 an hour to find the download through my Windows Explorer (Documents was taking 1 hour to 'pop' up) and install it.  (i.e., my AVAST and other 'helper' programs).

Thanks, again, for your suggestions.
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flubbsterCommented:
If you get the system to boot properly, boot into safe mode without networking. Run a THOROUGH (not standard) virus scan with Avast and let it do it's thing. If you don't have any malware/spyware protection, then re-boot into safe mode with networking and download superantispyware and run that in thorough mode. Also get malware antibytes:

http://www.malwarebytes.org/
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semarlo2Author Commented:
I could not get the diagnostic tools to properly install.  I downloaded the program 5 times, but could only get the 'Help' file to install properly.  I, finally, gave up and uninstalled.

I guess I'll just have to take the laptop into the 'shop'.

Thanks for your help, however.
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flubbsterCommented:
If you downloaded the tools and run it, it will create a single file with an iso extension. It is called an image file. You need to burn that image to a CD using some type of image burning software. I like to use Image Burn. It is free and can be downloaded from many sites. Once it is burned, you can boot from the CD you just created. Even if it is too late now, I would recommend doing it just to have it on hand for emergencies.
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