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I'd make sure XP has all the updates (up through SP3) and that you have the latest Quicktime.
Otherwise, if you've uninstalled and reinstalled the program and it still doesn't work, I'm not sure I can be of much help.
Perhaps uninstall PE, delete any left over folders and then run a registry cleaner like Advanced System Care with PE still uninstalled to clear out any left over references to it. Then try re-installing. ??
Your suggestions made a lot of sense, Steve, so I did the necessary checks. Didn't help. As for your more ambitious suggestions, Paul, I have a fairly spotless registry after reinstalling windows, reformatting, and patrolling my registry with Uniblue RegistryBooster 2, and wasn't eager to muck around my folders.
But I did find my answer. Apparently reinstallation of Premiere Elements 3.0, unlike Photoshop Elements 5.0, requires that you enter the EXACT same ID info. My name was preset, but because a couple of years had passed since my initial installation, I changed my entries in the COMPANY NAME field to reflect the change in my current clientele as a freelance writer. Changes of this sort, as I said, didn't bother Photoshop Elements 5.0, but they obviously roused the defense system in Premiere Elements 3.0.
Fortunately, I was able to revert by consulting the installation on my laptop and entering the COMPANY data exactly as it's entered there. Hope that's a help to future users who grapple with this problem. Thanks, guys.
Any solution is a great solution, Perry. Glad you're up and running again.