Many thanks for your advice. Unfortunately the Norton link won't help because I have IE4 and it needs IE5. Microcsoft's site won't help, I have just looked at it, and it has stopped supporting IE4, and you must have IE5 to use its online download facility for upgrades. I have probably been my own worst enemy. My machine came with McAfee pre-installed, but McAfee wouldn't accept a UK address for registration. So I binned that and bought Norton on a CD Rom. The CD Rom player on my three year old Compaq packed up about a year ago. I have never bothered with it because I considered it is only needed for games. I have been under the illusion that Norton is still working on my machine. It certainly appears to make virus scans on request. I ran one after experiencing my problem and it declared my machine to be virus free. But most likely it needs the disk in place to function. Probably my best bet is to tie a stone round my system and find a deep pond. But the miser in me says there must be life in this machine yet. But I do not wish to be a problem to people I e-mail. Some hard decisions seem imminent.