I called my brother-in-law Paul, as I do in all computer emergencies, and he suggested several interventions I may wish to try before throwing my computer over a cliff. For starters, I will try loading a different operating system onto the computer and see if that helps. If not, he thinks I can plug the hard drive into another computer and possibly retrieve the data. I hope he's right. I can do all kinds of wonderful things with photographs and other software programs, but I'm lost when it comes to deciphering the mysterious inner workings of a computer. Meanwhile, I'll continue to post from an undisclosed, remote location.