I downloaded and installed DirectX 8.1, and the graphics are now up and running. Sadly the sound card is now inoperative. In the control panel, when I go to the sound options, all options are greyed out. Going to the system section, I ask the system to update the driver and am politely told that I have the newest driver. I am now downloading some random driver for the VIA AC'97 audio chipset, which is what I use. No wonder normals need to have cars - just to freight the computers to and from the shop every time something goes wrong.
I'll enlist the aid of you computer geniuses out there when this doesn't work, I guess.