I have read the related posts with similar problems but my use of Norton GoBack is new to this issue.
I have noticed, circumstantially, that I can go the boot screen which offers Safe Mode by hitting F5, not F8, during boot up BUT only on those occasions when the machine will boot normally. Once I am in the "Load Error. Press a key to reboot" situation, F5 no longer takes me to that screen, nor does F8. In short, that screen seems inaccesssible to me when the machine is not booting normally.
My system is fully backed up. I am hoping to find someone who can say, with assurance, that this very likely IS or IS NOT an issue with a failing hard drive. If I can be reasonably sure it is, I will put in a new drive and start over. OTOH if this may be a software issue, perhaps I can find a way around it. Last choice is to buy a new PC which I am willing to do given that this one is 5 years old, but I'm intrigued by the problem and would like to solve it first.
I do have the Win XP install disk if it is needed. Also have Win XP SP3 on disk.
I will appreciate any and all help. Thank you.