System Restore & System Recovery Discs

have a 2006 Dell Media Edition PC with Windows XP. I sometimes have to use system restore. But it has not worked for at least 2 years. After going through the process it says the reset was unsuccessful and no changes were made. I tried booting in safe mode - still did not work.

After a friend's computer crashed, I decided to make system recovery discs. I am using the Automated System Recovery Wizard. My DVD drive is E, but when I choose that drive, it says the backup file could not be used.

I have a standalone DVD burner and when I choose that drive it says the drive is not accessible.

I also have an external backup system and it is the only drive the computer is letting me use. But when I choose it, I am prompted to select which files I want to back up. I do not want to back up files, I want to create system recovery discs.

I disconnected the external drive thinking that would solve the problem, but instead I got the message: the backup utility cannot connect to the removable storage device; please exit and start the device using system services function of management console.

Does anyone know how to 1) fix system restore and 2) how to make system recovery discs under these circumstances? I assume I have to change some kind of setting to complete these tasks.

Thanks in advance