im back...so here's what i've done so far:
got into the command prompt, and ran "chkdsk /r". took a while, but after the scan i was able to get into windows normally. Yay!
also did the "sfc /scannow" thingy just to be safe, that went fine too.
HOWEVER, i've noticed a lot of things aren't working [or looking] the way they should. here are some of those things:
-Microsoft Word can't save. when you click or press alt-f-a[save as], nothing happens. the save dialog box doesn't appear. If you try to close Word, the prompt pops up[asking if you wanna save the changes to the document], but even if you click 'yes', nothing happens either. checked Notepad, save works fine.
-when first logging in[after boot up], the UI is a cross between the XP style and the classic one. You get the rounded corners of the luna style, but the insides of the boxes[say task manager, explorer bars] are grey.
-you know how the system folders[eg c:]' contents are hidden by default, but can be shown by clicking on the 'show the contents of this folder' tag? when i refresh the window the contents get hidden again. this doesn't happen on my own machine...
-windows media player doesn't load. open it from the start-programs-accessories-entertainment-WMP, nothing happens.
would you say i'd need to format and reistall xp? cos i thought the system file checker's supposed to fix everything...
thanks again for all your help!