I use the Ubuntu install on my desktop mainly to surf the web, download podcasts and watch videos. I have kept it religiously up to date with the orange button and have no major theme changes. I dual-boot into XP to play Windows games primarily, and never mess about with major system changes. For Ubuntu I have a separate /home partition to make installing and upgrading easier.

The past couple of days I've had problems booting into the Ubuntu desktop. Scary console messages like 'kill process' and things like that popped up the first time the boot-up process failed. I tried the safe mode and got the scrolling console messages and the console prompt. I've been using Ubuntu for over a year but don't know what to do, really, once I get to that point, so I typed 'exit' and it tried to load Gnome and it failed again. I tried the older kernel version (my boot-up menu shows the latest 2 versions of Ubuntu, the safe modes of each and the XP option) and was able to get to the Gnome desktop the second time I tried, but that time and the next time (earlier tonight) the whole machine froze up and nothing would happen (not even downloads).

I have NO idea what is wrong and I know there are other sections of the forums for the exact solution to this, but I was wondering if just wiping the / directory of the Ubuntu part of my hard drive and installing a fresh install of Hardy would solve everything, albeit in a forceful and not very elegant way?

I've had lock-ups on Gnome before but this is the worst, and I don't know enough of what I'm doing to really dive into solving it. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.