Following what seemed like an unusually long boot time, my computer appears to have returned to "near" factory settings - meaning, empty "My Documents" folder, desktop settings returned to what looks like "out-of-the-box" default settings, and installed programs acting as if they had been just installed, i.e. Firefox (homepage and favorites seem to have been wiped). It looks like all items that used to be on the desktop, like docs and shortcuts, can be found in the "Desktop" folder in the user folder in "Documents and Settings" folder; however, nothing remains on the desktop but IE and the Recycle Bin.
I assume that the fact that McAfee and Firefox are still installed suggest that the hard drive wasn't reformatted. Also, items that were put into my recycle bin before this event still remain. I am able to locate the documents that were previously in my "My Documents" folder, but only via "My Computer," Local Disk C, and then in "Documents and Settings." I have run the McAfee Virtual Technician and it tells me that my "DAT is outdated" and can't seem to be able to fix the problem (I don't know what it actually means). Lastly, I don't seem to have any system restore options available through Windows and haven't backed-up any files to date for this computer. Did McAfee run some odd backup feature or is my computer on the fritz? Also, is there a way to return my computer settings to what they were before this event? Thanks for your reply.
P.S. I'm running WindowsXP Pro on a Dell laptop.