I just spent the last hour searching through the forums responses to previous users with a similar issue but mine seems to be unique...
I was digitizing music from cassette using a program that I have successfully used for over a year. The program stopped recording and the hard drive was clicking in a rhythmic pattern. It took 5 minutes for the task manager to appear and I shut the machine off. Rebooting started the rhythmic pattern again. It does boot but is very slow. I went to safe mode and the rhythmic pattern is there but stops much quicker and then they system runs reasonably well (but is still slow to launch programs or retrieve files). Because I had not been online (other than yahoo) for a couple of days, I did not suspect a virus. I suspected a corrupted executable or registry setting but I have never been able to get restore to work successfully on this machine (Compaq Presario V5000 laptop). At some point, I went to my Documents and they were completely gone- replaced by standard folders one sees with a new installation. I tried searching using unique keywords (from my folders) looking in system files and hidden files- can't find the documents. However, I can launch Open Office and open recent documents and it can open some of them so they are still there in the same folder locations but XP doesn't see them.
Any ideas how to get at my original My Documents?
Any ideas why the HD seems to be taking inordinately long to read? (I checked the IDE current mode and it is multi-word DMA)
p.s. I am accessing the web via safe mode with networking... hopefully I can continue to limp along to see your response!
thanks in advance for your assistance.