Thanks for responding. I booted up the laptop (it is a family PC) and it simply stated that I had lost my roaming profile so had no access to our e-mails, excel and word documents etc. As I had to retrieve some personal documents urgently I had to take it to my local dealer who charged a disproportionate amount to restore it with no guarantees it would not happen again.. I would rather be able to restore my roaming profile myself but being a complete non-techie I have absolutely no idea where to start!
Does that explanation help?