... foolish person that I am!
I 'knew' yesterday's reinstall of Vista wasn't going to be a very long-lasting affair; I've come to know this horrid operating system quite well and I know now when things are not going right, even if they 'work' after a fashion. I'm not going to bother going into the sordid details, suffice to say that if you are ever faced with a similar Vista problem, ignore all 'recommendations' to reinstall from the onboard 'factory settings' version - all that does is reinstall the system that, for whatever reason (*), caused the problem in the first place.
And so it proved. Earlier today (i.e. Monday) I decided that the freezing-up and general problems I was experiencing necessitated a complete reinstall from the back-up software supplied for emergency use by the PC vendor (in my case Fujitsu-Siemens) to do a 'clean' reinstall of the operating system. This is a long-winded process and necessitates a follow-on reinstall of all the drivers, etc. Plus all the other software that needs to be reinstalled (that I have with me here in Spain or can download from the internet) - the whole process takes many hours!
I suspect that this latest reinstall will be a little more durable than yesterday's, although given the fragility of the whole Vista 'catastrophe' of an operating system I have little faith that it will last beyond, say, four or five months - I last did this rigmarole in October 2007 and we're now only in early March, for heaven's sake! I think when I return to Scotland in May I shall be buying an Apple machine and going over to whatever its called OS-X?? - although I've heard that there are certain problems with 'Leopard', too.
So I am back online after a fashion - who knows for how long? Grrr!