Well, after running the scans, and talking to my techie guru, we have figured out what’s wrong. The boot OS HD is going bad, and needs to be replaced.
The bad part is, I really didn’t want to spend any more money on this computer, because it’s never going to adequately deal with some of the things I wanted my desktop to do – like graphics-intensive games. The good news is, because I was saving up to replace it, I have most of the money I need to replace this hard drive – and thanks to my techie guru having a NewEgg account we managed to catch a 120Gb SATA Solid State HD for $60 + fees. It should be here and ready to install next week.
Which also means that, starting next week, my older (and not quite so graphics intensive) games are going to ROCK after I install them onto the Solid State HD! *grins*