Now, I've seen a lot of attempts at 'security' that were actually 'obscurity'...but this one takes the cake.

I have inherited a notebook running XPpro SP2 in an AD Domain environment. The analyst who used it was fairly savvyy (or found a great How-To), because he had XP on hda1 and Fedora2 on hda5 (and 6, 7, 8, etc.). Now, when it first booted, you got the FC2 Grub loader screen asking if you wanted the default FC2 kernel, a newer one he had YUM'd into place, or Windows XP (hda1). No huge deal, been there/done that (I prefer to let NTLDR handle the boot management, but that's another topic.)

What is unique, and I'll grudgingly admit kinda *cool*, is you could boot this XP partition, or you could boot Fedora, fireup VMWare on the Gnome desktop and launch a virtual XP instance from the hda1 partition!!! Maybe I'm behind the times with VMWare, but when I was playing with it, that wasn't really possible. It wanted its own file on the local filesystem to "install" the guest OS to.

But I digress...while this gimmick with VMWare was pretty novel, it wore off. I'm left with a buggy XP system. The Explorer desktop (not IE...talking Explorer. Start Button, Task Bar, Systray, dekstop icons, etc. The Exporer Shell for M$) crashes each and every time you try to get to the control panel. I've clicked it in various iterations of the Start button config (new and classic config), I've tried to reach it in the system tree broken out from My Computer (which starts at Desktop, has My Computer, etc.

No matter what, where, why, or how...when I access control panel, Explorer crashes, and *when* it recovers, I'm back to a clean desktop (plus any other windows/process that were running, such as Firefox, CP SmartDashboard, etc.)

Normally, I would cut bait, save my data, and format/reinstall. However, there are a few app's we'd like to recover the S/N from (eEye Ret. Scanner 5, for example) that we *must* run the Add/Remove Programs BS wizard to get the license key to be released.

I am a member of the local Administrators Group, and my Domain User and the Laptop have no GPO's restricting my use of Control Panel or other various channels of access restriction. I 'own' this box, from an AD perspective.

Do any of you MS gurus know how I can either get to the Add/Remove Programs Wizard/Selection list interface without launching it from Control Panel? Or, do you know how I could *fix* the control panel so it doesn't crash and take Explorer with it?