Thanks for the quick replies lads. Just tried the fix by following vog's link. After I typed in each line, and pressed enter the windows Xp cd whirled into operation. When I finished typing all 3 lines, the next step it said was to "start or install programm" was this done by me pressing the enter key or did I have to something else. As you can guess when I have tried to load my printer drivers again after doing this fix I still get the same error message
The AUTOEXEC.NT_ file is in the i386 folder on the XP disc, but it's just a compressed version of the file in the C:\Windows\repair folder, so you may have the same result with it. Try doing a scan for spyware first and then attempt either method again.
Many thanks Vog & iambeavis. Did a scan for spyware and then copied file from repair folder again. Problem is now fixed, printer software installed. Never would have thought spyware could cause this type of problem. You learn something new everyday. Thanks once again.