I'll try to make the backstory brief. A few months ago, my computer made the Blue Screen of Death on me as I was on my way out the door to work. I didn't read the warnings very carefully, just turned my computer off and went to work. The next time I turned it on, it did all of this self-healing stuff which ended up deleting quite a few of my files (moral of the story: always make backups of vacation photos). I recovered what I could, and then ran the Dell PC Restore and returned it to factory settings.
It worked alright for a few weeks, with some new quirky glitches. Mainly, it was freezing up a lot, and in ways I hadn't before seen with Windows XP. Like, the mouse would still move around, even change from the cursor to the arrow when moving it on and off windows, but I couldn't change windows or close them or click on anything. No response to ctrl-alt-del either in these situations.
Tonight, it gave me an error message about missing registry files when I tried to open up Winamp. Then it gave me a Dr Watson Postmortem Debugger message, and promptly froze up. When I tried to restart, it told me that < windows_root >\system32\hal.dll was missing or corrupt. I tried to fix this using the microsoft knowledge base article, and then another error came up. At this point I figured I'd cut my losses - there wasn't much new stuff on the harddrive, and I knew that running the Dell PC Restore was easy. So, I did that instead.
So, clearly there is something wrong here, but I don't know where to begin trying to find out what. I'm only guessing it's the hard drive, since that was the problem to begin with. My computer was just off warantee when this first happened, and I was really hoping to get some more use out of her before investing in a new system. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
System info: I have a Dell Inspiron 6000, purchased in January 2006. Currently running Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2. Would be happy to provide any other info you need, just please tell me how to find it.
Thanks in advance, friends! :-)