No boot Dell with unusuable cd/dvd

Niece just brought me her Dell inspirion 6000 which "was working great and then it "just went crazy!"
Turn on and boots right up to where the desktop would show, then BSOD, 0000051 (?), which googles to "bad registry."
Cd/dvd worked, but not since the rest of the machine dumped out.
I see 3 scenarios and I'll try to make them brief. Assistance greatly appreciated!

1.) The hang-up always quits at the same place (duh!) If I boot in safe mode, the previous 35-40 items prior to lock up are always the same, which leads me to believe there is a master list which tells loader what to load and when. That would be nice to know since the listing I get from safe boot is a list of the files which have successfully loaded, not the one failing to load. In other words, I see "a"-"r" on the screen as sucessfully loaded, implying "s" is the object causing the problem. Where is the list to tell me the name of "s" so I can fix or delete it?

2.) This Dell is about 4-1/2 years old. According to Dell's site, that aged Inspirions have recovery partitions which contain iso's of the original configuration of XP and are supported by a Symantic "Ghost-like" restore device. With a partition manager I can see a partition which contains Dell drivers and programs and another partition with a couple of ISO's and a heck of a chunk of the individual XP files. The partitions are named 1: and 2: The normal restore procedure is to press <control> F8(F11) at the same time as you would to go into BIOS. When I do so , I get "unable to load kernel." just that message and nothing else.
a. Is there an easy way to fix the "kernel" problem?
b. If not, how can I access partition named 1:\ and 2:\?? If I can get there, would I treat the ISOs as ISOs, or did the Symantec "Ghost-like" thingie encrypt them in Mandarin or something?

3. This dohicky doesn't have a functioning CD, whether software or hardware I don't know yet, so I'm working with a thumb drive and something called "Active@bootdisk" mainly because I tried putting together a bootable disk to access the drive and came as close as ever to being instutionalized! I'd follow one set of "usb bootable" instructions and get an error, the solution to which always wiped out something in the original build. If steps 1 or 2 are not successful, I'll need to load a new XP. I have a brand new MCE which I will sacrifice (early x-mas gift!) if someone can tell me how to get it onto a bootable thumbdrive without needing subsequent psychological help from following unworkable instructions.

Thanks for any assistance!
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More about boot dell unusuable
  1. Hold down F8 while starting the computer, on some Dells you will find, system restore, repair system, etc...which will access the backup drive sectors.

    But some viruses disable these functions.

    If you have the XP install disk, you can try a repair that does not erase the files or reformat the drive. Look in Tom's XP forum, fifth post from the top for directions.

    A repair install could work in this case, worth a try.
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