(sorry, no caps)
running xp pro, system started freezing especially when on the internet, even though system is always on broadband w/ a router. updated all anti- software and scanned several times w/ avg8.5, superantispyware, malwarebytes, ad-aware, spybot. Nothiing detected. After a few days i was getting error msg at restart about normaliz.dll not being found. some research says that dll is a legit win file in system 32, but it does not show up anywhere in windows. my wallpaper loads but no desktop, clock or start button. can launch programs only from task manager. tried reinstalling xp, but system says no disk in drive (tried both drives and an external),even changed boot order in bios but cannot boot from cd. tried booting from floppy but cannot reformat ntfs from this. also downloaded the missing dll to usb drive where it shows up on my laptop, but when i move drive to the pc, that file does not appear. weird huh?,
cannot dismount volume that is running win, however lamely.
also tried several restore points, nothing.

just got win 7 and would like to install.

any ideas how to force a format? this pc is only a year old, and i used to be a techie but am ripping my hair out.

commented: is there anyway to format windows 7 ? ty +0

First try resetting your BIOS by removing the motherboard battery for a few minutes and then replacing. Don't let the PC start windows, set into your BIOS screen and change boot order or press whatever required to access boot menu. and then boot to CD. You should be able to do whatever you need after that. If you have any problems read the sticky note at the start of these posts about formatting your hard drive.

thanks for your advice, unfortunately it did not work. the bios now does not even recognize either cd drive as bootable, so i could not change the boot order. i can either boot from floppy, or let windows lamely attempt to boot from the c drive.

Are you saying that your drives are not shown in your BIOS?
"the bios now does not even recognize either cd drive as bootable,"

thanks again bob, i believe the bios recognized removable media drives but not the hdd. i just went to check it again and now the whole pc is dead. i booted into the bios and the system died in 2 seconds and will not power at all. now i do not know if it's the power supply, the motherboard, corrupt bios or some combination.

i fear that i'll just have to scrap the thing, which would not be great, as this system was just built last summer by someone who no longer speaks to me.

Hi again,
Do you have any lights, fan in power supply, beeps, noise, anything?
It is unlikely that you can not use most of what you have if only one part is faulty, we just have to find what part.
If you do have lights and fan, unplug your PC, disconnect every connection going into and out of every part (except the very little black plugs with colored wires), remove your RAM chip/chips and clean the contacts with a pencil eraser, (do not touch the contacts with your fingers) and if you can get compressed air, blow it clean, if not use a paint brush and clean it as best you can.
Tell us how you get on.

Some added info,

While you're inside the PC, with a flashlight look over the entire board to check for bubbling or oozing capacitors.
There have been instances where a failing PSU has taken a portion of the MOBO with it.

there are no lights or beeps, except the light on the nic card is on. how odd. i did notice that for the brief second that it turned on yesterday that the cpu fan ran but not so on the psu,, so that's my guess but i'm not sure if that would resolve issues w/ the bios not recognizing drives.

also, the mobo appears ok.

It is only a guess but it sounds like your power supply is playing up, first, see if you can borrow one from a friend and try it. They are not very expensive and it could solve all your problems.

When my computer recently broke I tried everything too. The problem ended up being the power supply. Before you try replacing the power supply first try to make sure that all of the cables are plugged in well enough to work properly. In my experience as working as a small business IT consultant, that cords sometimes come lose and it is a simple thing to check

i appreciate the help. i do think the psu is a large culprit, but i still have the problem w/ windows not functioning properly because of the missing normaliz.dll. i plan to drag the tower to a repair shop where i was a volunteer. hopefully the owner will take pity on me, or at least remember the free labor i supplied.

this is a wonderful community. i hope to post a happy and not too expensive ending to this thread.

Yes it sounds like it is the main or only problem in getting your PC started. Once you get it started you can them look into the other problem.
If your friend can not assist you or want to charge you too much or everything is Ok, post back and let us know.

Good luck