After getting Gateway CS to admit there was a problem (took 14 emails and my suggestion of purchasing on-site support), and after considering their request to return the notebook for repair (meaning 1-2 months w/out the notebook), I decided it was time to troubleshoot this myself. Cause of problem was Plug-n-Play was enabled in BIOS. Microsoft says don't do this on XP. Case closed.
4/26/04 at 1:14pm