If you read below a few posts, you'll see the helpful advice given me by one of Microsoft's techs. It didn't help.
I was eventually referred to an automated telephone 'help' place where, I discovered after multi-calls, that, if you answer NOTHING - i.e.: ignore all questions while holding your breath, you may be directed to a live person. But when I say nothing, I mean not even a peep, even when the questions are asked again.
I had 8 encounters over 18 days with zero results except, following instructions, I was adding and deleting things to my computer, all the while the threat of not activating XP SP3 was haunting me via pop-up balloon.
Tech 9 actually took control of my computer from India (this is a rough guess, based on his thick accent. "WHAT?" "I can't underSTAND you!" said me, more than once. After an hour and 13 minutes, he gave up - "I have exhausted all my knowledge and am unable to solve the problem," he admitted, in words that sounded only something like that. "Ken" (likely NOT REAL NAME, though that's what he said) then bumped me up to the very highest level tech, Jimmy (likely NOT REAL NAME, though that's what he said.) Jimmy went on my computer from far away and fixed it in about 3 minutes. Then he tested it several times, proclaimed it fixed, which I believe it is.
18 days, many emails, voice tree telephone frustration and 10 techs, all to validate a download. If Microsoft thinks they are too bloated, they'd be right. INternal communication must flat out suck. Several encounters brought forth acknowledgement that there have been some problems... though that sentence didn't sound that way.
Next: SKYPE, as the latest upgrade won't 'take' and the last operating version didn't work, and trying to wipe it off my computer and replace it with a much earlier version doesn't work. So far I've received one email days ago, with two "fixes." Neither worked.