and I need to do a system restore to a previous date but I can't seem to enter a previous date
I'm on Vista
I am clueless
(DH said that the laptop was running slow so I thought I'd be helpful and delete stuff, but that stuff was apparently important and now we can't print and can't load from the ipod etc so I am now being nagged for doing such woeful deleting... help)
Right, to do a system restore, you need to go into the system restore menu (which from the sounds of it you've found) and pick a date. There is either a list or a calendar with dates highlighted (I can't remember what it looks like in Vista) of available restore points. You can't just enter a random date, you need to choose one of the days where a system restore point was created. Vista by default creates a restore point if you do certain things and prompts you to make one if you do others, but this can be turned off, so it's possible you don't have any. If none are available, you can't go back to a restore point.
However, even if that's the case, don't panic! It sounds like you are just missing some drivers, which on a scale of annoying to catastrophic, is definitely towards the 'annoying but no big deal' end. Go to the printer manufacturer's website, and look in their support section for drivers for your printer model. You can download and install them. Same for the ipod, and whatever else isn't working. If you have trouble with anything specific post again, I'm sure someone will help you out
A system restore will not recover printer drivers and iTunes files. Your best bet is to redownload the driver files from the manufacturer's website and reinstall. Ditto with iTunes. If you go to Add/Remove programs, choose iTunes and see if it will let you reinstall. If not, go to the Apple website and download it again.