Sorry to here about your employment status. )-:
Before we proceed...
track down the product key of your XP installation; this will either be located as a sticker on the back of the laptop or it is to found in the registry hive (use KeyFinder to extract the legitimate product key - http://www.magicaljellybean.com
Write it down...keep it safe!
Next, try an determine the XP license type (most likely OEM). You'll need to 'source' an OEM version of the XP installation CD. You should then be ready to re-install the OS should the need arise.
Next, try downloading spybot and perform a scan of your system (http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html
). Once complete, you may wish to consider running a virus scan to be safe (e.g. Avira).
Download SP3 for XP and install (this should replace and update any critical system files that may have been affected). Then run windows update and further install any recommended updates it provides.
Try this, then get back to me.