A "simple" download and install of Service Pack 1 - actual, licensed, Microsoft software, through the microsoft website, turns out to be the most malicious code that could possibly have gotten into our computer.
Figures it would happen literally TWO WEEKS after the warranty expired.
Anyway, the cheapest fix (ha ha, again, thanks to lousy Microsoft) seems to be a new hard drive, with a fresh install of Vista. The old hard drive will become a secondary, non-boot drive. Very much like the setup we had on the old computer.
Sheesh... this is so not necessary, if only they would write a decent operating system and not release products until they're ready for prime time. Okay, they would never release any products at all, then. So be it.
Took it to a hole-in-the-wall computer guy named Yeo that Ted spotted somehow in his travels. Back online sometime over the weekend, I hope.
See ya on the other side!!!