buy a new hard disk and do a clean install of Windows XP. First reset the BIOS to something called 'defaults' or 'safe defaults'. If that fails on a new hard disk, it's time for either a new motherboard or a totally new computer (that's practically the same).
Then mount the existing hard disk in an external enclosure and see what data you can get off it. Then repartition and format it and if that gives no errors, you've got a spare disk to use somewhere.
Takes twe days at most. Maybe even one day until it's ready for finishing your job. The finer details can be done later.
Hope this helps.
After having numerous problems beginning w/ a sudden restart of my computer while browsing the internet in mid-June and getting progressively worse (My Documents folder disappeared, unable to start any programs, taskbar disappeared, unable to access task manager, frozen after startup and log-in, only able to boot in safe mode... new user profile created and worked fine at first, Ad-aware found a couple low-risk data miners and removed them, I was able to access old user's allegedly non-existent My Docs folder from new profile, but unable to install new McAfee anti-virus software because my "version of Windows is not supported" - my virus software had expired, and unable to backup my 1000's of files to external drives, then at end of June my new user profile started having problems, all web browsers stopped working, unable to access internet except to send error reports to Microsoft, no web browsing, no program updates, can't get updates to AdAware).
I use ZoneAlarm but these problems happened before the July 9 XP update (I never got this update).
I should mention that 6 other people I know here in town are having the same problem, starting in June. I have a Dell Dimension 4300S which I've upgraded w/ more RAM and a new hard drive a couple years ago. 2 of the other people having these problems have newer, faster computers.
After discussing this for a long time in the Virus forums (they don't think it's a virus, I do), I did several system restores (my computer is "unable to restore to" any of my restore points, going back to April (there are none prior to April 20).
Someone there suggested I reinstall Windows, but I wanted to try a repair reinstallation first so I wouldn't lose all my files and programs. I chose the "upgrade" option on my WindowsXP disk since it detected I already had XP installed (there was no "repair" option anywhere to be found, so I'm assuming this was it), and it told me it would only update Windows files but keep my programs and personal files intact, so I thought, sounds good. The problem is that this "upgrade" has been hanging at the "Installing Windows" point since last night, and it has said it has 34 minutes left since then.
The CD is still cycling through the text screens describing the new features of XP, so it's not *entirely* frozen, and I can move my cursor, but hitting Esc does nothing, and I'm afraid to turn the computer off in the middle of a Windows repair reinstallation.
Windows Experts, what should I do???
I desperately need to finish a graphic design job on this computer (I don't have the programs I need on my Mac and can't afford to buy the Mac versions any time soon, barely making rent), and I need it to be able to connect to the internet. I was really hoping this repair reinstall would work.