With a little help from my (internet) friends. Okay, a LOT of help from the internet lol. First up, replacing the power supply unit (PSU). I wish I had saved the site I found where one person gave some really great advice to buy an Antec PSU. The 350w would have been fine for my PC, but I ended up buying the 450d Green. I priced PSU's at my local Best Buy stores and the least expensive was a 350watt for $55.99. I bought the Antec PSU on Amazon for $44.99--and if I had remembered to use EBATES I could have ended up with a decent cash back award on top of a cheaper price. This could have been a much easier replacement if I had WRITTEN down exactly which wires I unplugged from which location when taking out the old PSU! I made mental notes of them but, well--it's pretty cobwebby up in that note-taking area and I should have known better, but I guess I forgot that I don't remember much. ;-P
The Antec box gives you their website, and from there you can download the user guide. I have to admit that wasn't super helpful to me; eventually I realized I needed to see pictures of my actual computer and found that by Googling my exact PC model. There are plenty of youtube videos showing installation, however you really need to be watching something that is identical or close to identical of your own computer. The best advice I can give is write down exactly where the old wires were plugged into, how many prongs those plugs are, the color of the wires--basically as many details as possible. If you do that you will have NO PROBLEM putting in the new PSU.
Excited doesn't cover how I felt when I didn't get electrocuted upon plugging in the computer, or when the computer didn't blow up upon being connected and turned on. (not sure which would have been worse.....) That welcome screen came up and I was so cocky and doing the "I da man" cheering--until the message said "wrong password idiot, access DENIED". Okay it did not say that exactly but it may as well have. Apparently I had changed my password to something those kids would NOT figure out, for once and for all, and like the dunce I am clearly becoming--I made a mental note of that, too; I could not figure out the password. I clicked on the "reset password" link--guess what, if you don't yet know this, you have to set up a password reset disk (actually you have to use a flash drive to do it) in order to reset your password with Windows Vista. There is no other way to do it unless you have an additional administrator set on your computer. I googled like crazy, spent hours trying all different solutions, put out the "HELP" call on Facebook...but nothing was working.
Finally, FINALLY, I found something that worked: Offline Password and Registry Editor. This program actually deleted my password so I could finally get into my desktop. Thanks to this author Tim Fisher and his fantastic writing, advice, included reviews, and screenshots, I was finally able to get into my computer. And now that I've blogged about it, I don't have to worry about only having mental notes! Yay me!!