Oh dear. So, I took advantage of the fact that my institution provides a legit copy of windows xp for it’s staff’s home machines. Now it appears I’ve broken my existing windows installation. At first the installation was halting because one of the files it was trying to replace was ‘being used by another application’. Then when I booted from CD and chose to reinstall-repair, it froze at the ’34 minutes to go’ mark every time.
And so the troubleshooting begins. Memtest came back fine.
Ouch. The good news is Marnie’s files are ok, on the first partition. The bad news is it looks as though the partition with all my files is broken. Knoppix says: “Could not mount device. The reported error was: MFTMirr does not match MFT. Failed to mount /dev/sda5: Input/output error. NTFS is inconsistent. Run chkdsk /f on Windows then reboot it TWICE! The /f parameter is very IMPORTANT…”
Ok, sounds like reasonable advice.
Update: did what the man said, ran chkdisk which took an awful long time, but repaired the files enough for me to Knoppix some backups. Looks as though the Windows installation is taking.