Can someone please help ? I'm running XP home with SP2 on a Toshiba laptop, with all updates up to a couple of months ago. I have ZoneAlarm Pro, Avira Antivirus running, and do an Adaware and Spybot check at least twice a week. I consider myself to be VERY Windows savy, but this one has me stumped.

I'm getting the following error: 'Cannot open xxxx: Error while opening key.' I'm getting it on all subkeys (IMAIL, MAPI, and MSFS) under the following key: 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE_SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows|Cur rentVersion\Run\OptionalComponents
This condition is keeping me from installing any XP updates or any new Windows software (any install results in 'Error 1402. Could not open key ..." error message).
It appears to be a permission problem, but I cannot change the permission of any of the subkeys. I even did a Safe Mode startup and loged on as Administrator and was still unable to change permissions, view them, or delete them

I have tried every trick I can find on the web, including:
1. Safe mode/Administrator ... did not work
2. RegDelNull.exe ... thinking they might be nul entries
3. ran RootKitReleaver.exe ... did not show anything
4. all the Microsoft support articles I could find, including
a. 236427 'Error 1402. Could not open key" error message ...'
b. 310353 '... start XP in a clean boot state'

The web is full of forum entries for this type of problem, BUT in almost all cases the 'expert' reply is to change the permissions. Are there any guru's out there that want to tackle this one ??
... THANKS in advance !!