Looks like I picked up a trojan or virus from somewhere or caused this by installing a KB security for IE, I don't know what actually screwed my laptop. The KB patch needed a reboot and after rebooting there was only .lnk files being displayed, all the links to my programs had gone. After over two weeks messing round with it I've got it back, nearly. I copied large chunks of my registry from my desktop to my laptop, ran trend micro home visit and adaware on it, it also messed up by dns settings, had to run 'hijackthis' on it. So it's nearly sorted, the only thing I can't do is to set a restore point (which I know I should have done earlier). There are no restore points set and I can't get into the wizard where you can name a restore point (the focus won't allow anything to typed in the box).
Has anyone got any ideas, it is really doing my head in.