OK, so into my all-singing, all-dancing new machine, I decided to install a wireless network card, namely a D-Link AirPlus ExtremeG+, part code DWL-G520+.
And it broke stuff, BIG time.
Installed as per instructions, so drivers first, then card. Worked okay until reboot. When I rebooted, the "Preparing Network Connections" segment took about 5 minutes, and upon loading, any vaguely "system" related window (e.g. Network Connections, Add/Remove programs, Program Files or even the contents of C:\WINNT itself) were totally blank. I took the card out and the problems went away.
So next step - put the card back in, problems came back again. So this time I booted into Safe Mode and disabled it there. Now when I boot back into Normal Mode, none of the icons work - I can select them, but can't double click. A friend suggests I clear out my startup menu entirely, and this helps. But now the problem is that my system reboots itself after two minutes.
To try and get aroudn this I've upgraded to Windows XP, but the only difference is that it now TELLS me it's going to shut down, apparently due to the "Remote Procedure Call service terminating unexpectedly". And before anyone cries out "A-HA!", no, I do NOT have the msblast worm. And just as an aside, Windows XP's ability to auto configure a network sucks ***.
I am totally pissed off with this, and currently both DWL-G520's will be winging their way back to the shop as of next weekend. I have until then for some kind soul on here to figure out what the HELL is going on.