Thanks for your thoughtful response...
...yeah, I have done a reset. I'd have to go back and look at my notes to see what I did subsequent to that.
Don't really trust warrantee repair.
I'm not all that patient...just a ton of extenuating circumstances...
As far nulling out the harddrive using secure deletes...really, the recommendation is, if you care about the data, go trash the hard drive ... with a hammer...
When I first had problems, I did talk with warranty repair (within a month or two of purchase)...who recommended reset if i continued to have problems...then I went thru 2 external hard drives trying to back things up. One was dead out of the box and was returned. The other died between swaps between 2 computers of nearly identical make.
(I'm leaving out the story of the OTHER computer...sigh.)
Subsequently, I have purchased an external hard drive and backed up...and subsequent to that, done a reset.
When the computer works...it's awesome and I'm happy. And then something happens, and it dies. I've been attempting various theories over time...ever hopeful that the last change will be a permanent fix.
If these are hardware problems...they occur inconsistently...(so, additionally why I don't think warranty repair will help...but who knows...give me a few more months...)
If these are virus problems...well, I'm pretty conservative...not a gamer, I don't visit torrents...and I don't click on unexpected links. (In fact, I did user-testing at PayPal at one point where they had to instruct me to click a link in the email, because I don't generally do that.)
...thanks for the link to classic shell...after some 15 months off and on with windows8, I've figured out how to get it to behave how I'd like (the desktop "toolbar" on the taskbar is a nice stand in for the old start menu...and works more quickly...)
Thanks very much for your help and attention!
Edited by MakeItBetter, 12 March 2014 - 09:39 PM.