You guys have had some great answers and advice in the past, so hoping for some of the same tonight! ;-)
Very quick background, I built a new PC a few months ago. It is running 32bit XP Pro, I have a RAID 0 which my OS and Programs are on, a RAID 1 that my files/data are kept on, and a backup HD that I just keep whacking backups over to.
The problem started a few weeks ago, when Adobe Acrobat started having weird launch problems, to the point where I ended up deleting it, as the only part of Creative Suite CS4 that I don't really use as of now. I can't 100% remember the error, as figured I'd come back to it at a later date.
Next thing to happen, a week or so later, was that iTunes stops working after every turn off / turn on, or restart. i.e. iTunes is set up, all updated and working fine, until I turn my computer off. When I turn it back on again it hunts for some setup file, then says it can't find it, and refuses to open. I have to delete iTunes via Add/Remove, then install it again. At this point, on first opening it, all my music and settings are there fine, but once it's been turned off again same problem. This is a real pain in the ass even more so than usual as I have an iPhone now, so backing up is taking a while each week!
Finally (I think), Office is doing a similar thing - it has been installed since first building the PC and working fine, but now each time I open any Office program after a restart it goes through some stage of installation again, and asks me to to activate it over the internet, yet again.
Help, what's happening??!!
I don't think I've installed any new programs, bar program updates, and it just suddenly happened over a couple of weeks. It was working fine for a few months beforehand!
I am relatively PC aware, but a long long way from expert, so have no idea where this problem is coming from - which has made Googling it impossible! It's like it forgets all its setup info at startup or shutdown, and has to start over again. NB, my AVG anti-virus is up to date and running Malware Bytes shows a clean system. Oh, that reminds me, I also had to turn off XP monitoring of my anti-virus, as around the same point as all this started XP started telling me it wasn't turned on or up to date, but it was running perfectly.
A PC 'dude' at work has recommended a repair install of XP, but reading so many scare stories I've chickened out.
Help, PLEASE!!!! This is driving me mad. I'm so desperate, it's eating up so much of my time!!
Oh, and the shortcut on my desktop to dial into my office VPN also stops working after a restart. In fact, it looks like all record the connection disappears completely, leaving a shortcut on my desktop which goes nowhere...
I just followed these instructions found on another thread, just out of interest to see what my C:/boot.ini file contained. I got 2 error messages:
1) "Right click 'my computer', click properties, go to advanced tab, click start up and recovery settings" - at this point I get an error message saying "The C:/boot.ini file cannot be opened. Operating System and Timeout settings cannot be changed". The next screen still opens though. Then...
2) "Click 'edit'" - I then get another error message saying "Cannot find the C:/boot.ini file. Do you want to create a new file?"
Ok, so I know nothing about the C:/boot.ini file, but guessing this could have something to do with my problems??
It has also made me think of a problem I had when setting up the PC, referred to in another thread a while ago - see 2nd to bottom post (mine) in the thread at , but basically I had some problems with my RAID setup, and needed to install Windows to my backup drive to get in to change some settings. I fixed the problem, and now run Windows off my C:/ drive, which is the RAID 0, but the 'Windows' file remains on my backup drive. Could this have something to do with the problem cause? If so, not sure why it suddenly became a problem after 5 months of being perfectly fine...
Quick summary of my hard drive setup:
C:/ drive = Intel Matrix RAID 0 over 2 hard drives - has OS and programs on it
H:/ drive = Intel Matrix RAID 1 over same 2 hard drives - this is for storing all my files/data
K:/ drive = Seperate, non RAID, hard drive, just keep backing things up to this one, but still has the 'Windows' file remaining on it.