|Then lets start over.|
You can run chkdsk from xp when booted to a command prompt. Also things like barts and ubcd4win help.
Vista DVD can do repairs when booted. You can borrow anyones if your system didn't come with on.
There are also things like ultimatebootcd and factory diags that can be downloaded to run disk diags.
"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10