What you need to do is expose them hidden files. You can do that by going into the control panel and click on appearance and themes, then click on folder options. From there click the view tab and should notice the option in the list, saying "show hidden files and folders", click that and apply. The files should now be exposed.
Please can you post the message exactly as shown.
sorry, didn't make myself very clear. When i log on, all that appears on my desktop are icons for outlook and recycle bin, neither of which are functional. When i go to C drive it states that all files are hidden. When click show contents and then try and view anything else i get the same message.
I've tried the suggestion from database 89 but when i go to the view section in folder options it doesn't have a "show hidden files and folders" option, only do not show hidden files and folders, which is unticked
I am very confused!! haha. I would go back to square one and reinstall from scratch, but have mislaid my XP disc following a housemove d'oh