Well, this is a long story that can be found here http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/596309/laptop-runs-very-slow-high-cpu-usage/ , and now I've been directed to the Hardware forum.
Basically, I now have an old laptop that recently shut down after Windows 7 attempted to update itself for...probably about the 5th time in as many days. The laptop shut itself down during the middle of the update (I believe it said around 41 of 90 or something like that, but I can't remember.) Anyway, now it won't load Windows at all. I get the windows screen and then nothing after that but a black screen with a mouse.
I can sometimes get the esc key to work, or F2. I don't know what the other F#'s do so I've refrained from pushing buttons. I only have a second or two for them to work, if I don't get to it very quickly the keyboard seems to become unusable and I can't even toggle between options in the safe/normal mode selection screen. I suspect a corrupt file(s) somewhere and not an actual hardware malfunction, but if this is where I'm directed to then this is where I'll post.
Any ideas on where I should begin? I believe we can probably re-install Windows, but I think that would wipe the hard drive as well, correct...we would lose any photos or games on the laptop? I would like to avoid that if I can.
The laptop says HP, G62, Altec. There doesn't seem to be any known restore points on the pc currently, nor does it work properly if I restore to a safe mode or last known good configuration.