|OtheHill, thanks. You've been very helpful.|
I am using the original keyboard on the laptop. I think the F keys are no longer working becouse the TOSHIBA laptop is over 9 years old. I can't complain though, becouse for over 7 years the PC worked like a dream. I never had any problems with it. Then I had it in storage at a friend's place for about 9 months and when I got it back, I had problems with it straight away. Although it was boxed and my friend said no one touched it, I suspect that someone did tamper with it. (Or perhaps my PC got lonely and now won't forgive me for abandoning him - Toshi, that is. :-) )
By the way, I haven't made any restore disks. I was talking about restore points (System Restore) which never work on my PC.
I've decided not to do a total wipe of my HDD afterall (using a disk wipe util) just in case I can't get the OS (yes, it is OEM) back on afterwards. I'll leave that as a last resort, if nothing else helps to improve my PC's performance.
Now I'll just reformat the C partition using the Fdisk command in DOS and then re-install the OS with the recovery disk. I hope that this will wipe out/get rid of any traces of old OSs and files.
I'm not worried about my data, since I back that up regularly and the b/u is up-to-date.
Perhaps the PC is running so slowly now becouse of all the Windows XP updates. They are, afterall, taking up about half of my little 20GB HDD. (I know. I know. I need a new PC. But my budget won't allow that right now.)
I probably won't be back to these postings, unless I have some problem in the next 2 or 3 days.