alright, here's what happened. my anti-spyware program detected a trojan that had attached itself to services.exe and deleted the file. i had to install a second OS temporarily to a seperate installation folder on the same hard drive to be able to copy another services.exe from the servicepackfiles folder in my main windows installation back to the original file's location. (from C:\Windows\servicepackfiles to C:\windows\system32) and after i fixed that, i was able to get back on my original windows. now here's the kicker, once i fixed it my dvd burner no longer can read blank dvd's. not sure about cd's, don't have any laying around handy. InCD is doing what it should in showing what the drive can actually do, but windows is not willing to cooperate. shows up as DVD-RAM drive and it's always saying there is a cd in it with 0mb free and 0 mb total, as opposed to it used to keep me from going to the drive's properties unless there was a cd/dvd in it. not hardware problems, uninstalled and reinstalled idk how many times to no avail. not firmware, i updated from bl1a to bl1n. could it be the fact that i had installed a second OS on the same hard drive or is it possible that it's the services.exe file? if i remember i think i had to reinstall my nvidia chipset drivers too. then again maybe not. can't remember all that well.
Edit: i've uninstalled and reinstalled sp3. no go. i've officially done everything i can think of. it still shows it as a DVD-RAM drive. system restore, no good. unplugging the drive and uninstalling the driver, no good. i'm at a loss here and i do this stuff for a living. i suppose the only thing left to do is do a fresh xp install. what a pain. good thing i still have the cd burner from my old pc to keep in it until i have xp completely updated again. thanks anyway.