Can Anyone HELP with computer problems?

I got a newer computer (6 months old) from my mother (she bought a notebook). I started from scratch and reinstalled everything. Started by it back to how it was straight out of the box. Windows XP, first thing was all the updates and service pack. Next I added Office student and added Access. Works 2003, & other software I own. Updated Norton, etc.

Ran great for about a week… 3 days…

It was checking for updates for everything every day & installing them. With no help from me. (Big head ache for me on dial-up) After the last up-date from Microsoft I changed it to only check once a week and to only download when I OK it.

A day later I can no longer access my Email with Outlook or any other program. I have been using my servers web based mail service for about 3 weeks now. I also can not open any PDF files. The computer just locks up. The last thing is that the computer will not shut down. I have to do a hard power down… (Turn the power switch off)…

Some one told me that it had to do with one of the windows updates that turned out to not be compatable with any PC with HP printers attached to them.

Computer: Compaq Presario SR1020NX (HP Now) 2.80GHz, 512MB, 80GB
Replaced the DVD drive with a DVD±RW
Printer: HP Business Inkjet 1200d (double sided printing)
Scanner: (Flat bed) Visioneer 6400
Scanner: (Page Scanner) Cannon BJC-4300 Printer with scanner cartridge

Other than starting all over, what should I do? I want to fix it myself if possible.

First off if you can afford DSL or Cable …Get it you might have only downloaded part of an update or some other glitch that is locking up the computer. also possibly a virus if the virus software will run check it and see if you have gotten one. Are you opening PDF files from the internet they are large and can lock up on dial up. As far as Outlook ,there is a setting in the mail settings that asks you if you use the same settings as for incoming and outgoing emails ,try setting it both ways and see if that helps sometimes the updates change those settings.
Hope this helps:shock:

Jason, Windows XP automatically & periodically saves various system parameters and drivers using System Restore checkpoints. If you are lucky you may be able to do a System Restore using one of those prior saved restore points and effectively go back to where you were before the problems. You can access that feature using Start/Help&Support/System Restore then carefully follow the directions.