I do have XP prof SP 2.

Since a few weeks now the W.Firewall doesn't run. When I click the
reminder of the Security center it says:

--snipp--
We're sorry, the security center couln't turn on W. Firewall.
To try turning on the firewall yourself, go to W. Firewall in Control
Panel [...]
--snapp--

There W. Firewall says:

--snipp--
W. Firewall settings cannot be displayed because the associated service
is not running. Do you want to start the W. Firewall / Internet
Connection Sharing (ICS) service?
--snapp--
[ Yes ] <- Klicked on

Then it says:
--snipp--
W. cannot start the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service.
--snapp--

Running services.msc and right-clicking "W. Firewall / Internet
Connection Sharing (ICS) service" it says

--snipp--
Configuration Manager: The specified device instance handle does not
correspond to a present device.
--snapp--

I set the Startup Type of ICS from "disabled" to "automatic" but it
won't work
;-(

Trying to start the ICS from the Properties Window out of services.msc
it says:
--snipp--
Services
Could not start the W. Firewall / ICS service on local comp.
Error 1058: The service cannot be started, either because or because it
has no enabled devices associated with it.
--snapp--

Could that mean in other words the same as the "device instance handle
does not correspond to a present device" above?
Could there be any other service not running that the ICS needs running
before itself can start?

I am at my wit's end.

Any ideas?

Greetings
Dietrich