Sorry that original idea didnt work out. Probably needs a full reinstall of XP. Without re-reading the whole thread you might also have a bad browser hijacker or some similar spyware.
Either way, firefox solves a lot of IE problems. You'll note that some sites render slightly differently but are functionally similar. My insurance company's web site doesnt work with FF if you want to log into your account. Other than that, its good.
Have you tried the 'tabbed browsing' yet? Click on 'file' and then 'new tab'. You'll see a second 'file folder tab' appear near the top of the screen with its own browser session inside. I have all the stuff I read regularly in its own tab, saved with 'tools/options/general/home page use current open pages'. Open firefox, go get a refresh on your cup of coffee, and all your sites will be open and ready to read.
Look into the firefox extensions (aka plugins) via 'tools/extensions/get more extensions'. You can customize the browser with any of hundreds of plug ins that get rid of ads, aggregate news information, etc.
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.