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Why can't my computer remember anything ?

I turned on my laptop one day and on the welcome screen my picture was a default one. My password still worked, but when I entered it I got a blue desktop with only 3 icons (IE, WinMediaPlayer and Recycle Bin) and the Start button. None of my programs are in the start menu, My Documents is empty, as well as My Music, IE favorites etc.etc.etc. When I do ctrl/alt/del it says that lots of processes are running, and it seems to be the usual amount and variety (though I actually have no idea what exactly they are!). Norton things, for example, are still there, but the program isn't running. The hard drive still has the same amount of used space that it did before, so I'm pretty sure everything is still there. Somewhere. My computer just doesn't know it.

After much cussing, crying and loss of sleep I finally found my documents, pictures and music in a folder called DOCUME~1 , along with a list of my IE favorites and a few of the normal desktop items. I found other folders for programs and tried to start them that way, but they either won't run, or start up as if for the first time by asking me for settings and stuff.

I tried to do a system restore, but the only restore point is a single date in July, which appears to be the day this all happened. It won't even go back further than that. My computer seems to think time began on that day. Also, it will let me online, but with the default MSN homepage. No matter how I try to change the homepage, it only starts with MSN. It also seems to dislike Yahoo intensely as it won't let me on any Yahoo site about half the time. If I select for the Yahoo toolbar to show (which it used to automatically) it just ignores me.

Possibly the two worst problems are that it won't play a DVD anymore, and the battery isn't charging. I can only run it with the power cord plugged.

I have an HP Pavilion dv6000 notebook. It has WindowsXP Professional, version 5.1.2600 with service pack 2.0 and an AMD Turion processor. I was using Norton 360 antivirus, and doing monthly scans along with AdAware scans. I also had automatic update setup to download and install everything that Microsoft sent out.

This problem is so bizaare to me I don't even know how to look for help! No error messages have shown at all. The computer either does something as if it's the first time the program has run, or it just ignores the command. I did an AdAware scan and a Spybot S&D scan (no results on either), but I can't get Norton to run at all to do a scan. On the HP, Norton and MS sites I have searched terms like "Blank desktop" "No Icons" and "All Programs Empty" but don't get any relevent results.

What the #!%&% is going on?

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Temporary Profile?

In reply to: Why can't my computer remember anything ?

It is possible that windows has created a temporary profile for you and logs you onto that each time. It could be the result of errors in hard disk.
Open command prompt from start menu->Accessories and type the following exactly. (only change the drive letter if windows are installed on a partition other than c:)
chkdsk c: /f /x /v
You will be prompted to check the drive next time the computer restarts, so press 'y' to confirm.
Now shut down and restart the computer and let the disk check finish. If windows are able to recover from any error found, you should be able to get rid of the said problem, otherwise if the problem persists, than you should create a new user in your windows and start using computer from that user profile to make it remember your settings from now on.

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still not working

In reply to: Temporary Profile?

Thanks for the suggestions. I'd love to try the chkdsk thing, but there is no Accessories tab! Like I said, the All Programs shows NO programs, even though I can find some of them on the hard disk. If you can tell me some other way to get the command prompt then I'll try it.

During one of my many restarts I pressed f10 and got a PhoenixBIOS thing that offered a disk scan. I did that and it reported no errors.

I tried your suggestion of making a new user profile, but it seemed to actually make things worse. The computer still doesn't show that it knows anything is there, and it took over 10min. to load the other profile! If it is using a temporary profile, then is there some setting to make it go back to the other?

I'm baffled and getting desperate. I'm a teacher and school starts in 2wks and I must have this thing running b/c all my gradebooks and attendance records are on it!! I'd appreciate any other advice you have!


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command prompt

In reply to: still not working

You can get a command prompt by pressing the windows key + R, then type cmd and press enter.

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Sounds just like a corrupt profile.

In reply to: Why can't my computer remember anything ?

Boot safe mode, head to the control panel, user accounts and create a new account for you to move to.

Sorry, no, Microsoft is not offering much on how to fix corrupt profiles.

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