No, this isn't some lame excuse I invented for the wife, I really can't shut it down. OS is Windows 98 SE. when I select 'start,shut down,shut down' I get a black screen with the message 'Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer'. Ctrl+Alt+Del restarts it, but the same thing happens when I try to shut down after the reboot. Pushing the reset button has the same effect. Now, I did mess with things a bit. Under 'Add/Remove Programs' I chose to remove 'Windows critical update'. After I did that, the problem started. Any ideas? Thanks.