HEEEEELP - More 'issues' than the New York Times - at wits end (screenshots incl)

ARRRRGH -Im having so many issues with my Ubuntu install - and no clues on how to solve. Here is a brief description - cant possibly document everything Id be here for decades:

My PC: (or the demon infested sadistic overgrown abacus masquerading as a pc)

Asus laptop pro50 n series
athlon 64 X2 tk57 (according to sticker)
geforce 128mb video, 2gb ram

Computer Experience:

Winblows - lots - software tester by trade, able to sort any windows issues myself (apart from from the numerous crashing and security issues - but hey microsoft cant fix them either ;)

Linux Experience - very very minimal

Used Puppy for about 4-5 months as sole OS running it in a variety of installs - No full HADD uinstall so was frugal hdd, and on cd, usb cards etc.
Puppy lucid
Macpup, puppy studio, quirky

Issues with Puppy:
Booting. - wouldnt ever restart - would shut down then hang - had to reset to boot again

Also issues with software I wanted to use - packages that didn not install (or said they did but wouldnt launch - I didnt have the knowledge to figure out how to fix (not in a practical time frame anyway) so decided to move to a more mainstream distro. Choose Ubuntu studio as I am into photography and want to get into video editing (if I ever get time off trying to get the pc to just run - then Id like to learn to use some of the packages out there)

So Now on:

Ubuntu Studio 64 bit edition
Version (from About):
You are using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
- the Lucid Lynx - released in April 2010 and supported until April 2013.

Installed to internal hdd - on entire partition, no dual boot, no live disc etc this is the only os on the pc.
boot partition formated as ext2
4gn usb card as swap - plus I think it has permission to use some of the hdd (I seem to remember being asked that at install - using gui install)

Issues with ubuntu

There are many many many - the 2 significant are crashing, becuase that leads to the MAJOR one which is trying to reboot - I would have to on average reset about 7-10 times or more to get it to boot. More on that below

So many many things go wrong all the time that its very difficult to sort and concisely describe so bear with me - Ill just go for hte main ones to start:
I have reinstalled it more than once - formating etc when doing this - no errors reported on hw, no change in the issues. Most of my problems do not come with any error message or other clues as to their cause.....

1: Crashing - This is regular and happens in two ways - both of which I cannot figure out a way out of except reboot - which then leads into the nightmare that is trying to boot the thing:

Crashing 1: - The screen/mouse freeze. Screen 'freezes as it is' any menus open stay open, mouse cannot be moved (or sometimes it can but cannot click on anything). Have tried: control alt backspace (keep reading that is restart x but has never had any effect at all when I use it - even when not crashing - how DO I restart X?) Also tried control alt delete (just thought why not - tried everything else), F9 (somewhere read that is kill app command - again no result) control alt shift, and various other combinations of keys - nada.
If mouse can be moved - check no hidden dialogue box waiting for a response etc - aznd is nothing

Crashing 2: Nothing loads. I click on the menu item to launch an app and it will appear to be processing something - sometimes the window will display but not properly (ie it will have the title of the app I am trying to start but be blank in the contents) - then it will just disappear.
Other times when I attempt to start an app nothing happens. No error, noapplication
When it happens happens with apps that I have been using (that will just shut down with no error) and apps I have not opened in that session
System monitor etc also do not open - No items can be loaded via gui and I dont know the syntax for command line (ands cant google it cos my browser wont load)

The MAIN ISSUE - BOOTING (OR NOT)

Ths happens both when restarting after it has crashed - and restarting after a normal shut down. It happens more often than not. Occasionally I can start it off one boot attempt - more often I have to spend 30 - 60 minutes or more before I can use it.

Photos of what is displayed are here:

http://img151.imageshack.us/img151/6033/whereitusuallyhangs.jpg
Usually pressing 'C' Leads to this:

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/2324/pressifetc.jpg

The above is the place where it usually hangs on boot. It will either move thru this screen in a split second, or sit on this screen for hours (if left).

Ive tried all the options that are offered (pressing C, not pressing it, pressing/not pressing F, I etc

http://img703.imageshack.us/img703/5708/theposbiosboot.jpg
The bios screen at boot - seeing a LOT of this - incl in case it has some clues for someone reading

Other times I will get these messages (less common - but still common)

http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/1638/otherbootmsgs.jpg

And various other screenies:

http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/7926/morebootmsg.jpg

http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/4913/morescreenies.jpg

I have tried: Pressing C to cancel - not pressing C
Pressing C then nothing after
Pressing C then F to fix
Pressing C then S to skip, m for manual - etc - ie I have tried every combination of key presses there is an d none seem to help - it is just random when it boots.

USB messages: I have tried booting with usb dcevices plugged in, and without
Neither option seems to have any effect on the likelyhood of it booting

Also tried control alt delete which at boot up (in the linux side of things loading kernel ) it will reset it ....sometimes.

Have reinstalled the os several times to try and solve it
In those reinstalls I have had:

Errors where it wontwrite apps - usually stating the file is read only or in use
Disc scan and other hardware checks have always come back error free - all hardware detected correctly

Other issues:

When booted:

Cannot set permissions - if I do, next boot or sometimes same session they reset - ie if I give my user read/write or ownership - it will be back to root on next restart - or same session. Same for usb drives etc - I have given up and now log in as root because its impossible to do anything otherwise

Things disappearing: Ie installed file browsing as root into the menu - it was there for several days through a number of restarts
then it just was not - mid session
it has not reappeared since
Gimp scripts and so on disappeared at the same time
Other things have seemed to just reset back to default.
Things I have changed - and have been committed as I have rebooted a number of times and the modifications are there - then they just are not

Tryiong to mount drives - it will detect them - I click on mount [drive] and nothing happens - no error and drive not mounted. Or I mount it use it - close everything and cannot unmount - same thing - click and select that and nothing - this is as root as well as a user so it is not permissions

Had issues with a segate external drive a week or so ago - managed to get data off with test disc but ubuntu box would NOT format/partition/delete it - and wouldnt recognise it (only test disc.)
Error message was always to do with the files being busy/used elsewhere - rebooting, rebooting pc, powering off and on the drive etc etc etc nothing made any difference.

Finally plugged that drive into a netbook running macpupuuy linux and Gparted (which I also installe3d on the ubuntu pc) - partitioned and formated it first pop - ubunto now reads the disc

Im at my wits end - I just dont know what I am doing wrong - and there are no clues most the time - all the crashing, disappearing items and so on occur with no error message
The only common factor seems to be that file permissions for non root user (wi9th admin rights) will reset, and also messages about files being in use when they are not
Also things like mounting an external drive - and using it as a user, then being unable to unmount it (nothing on it being used at all) because I dont have permission only root does - then the same drive wont a;llow me to mount it either - but has done prior

These things are all happening with NO changes made by myself - Often I have just gone away from the pc and come back and permissions have changed - menu items gone awol

another one is that things I configure are reset to default after a log in - but not always - so it is not a permissions thing etc stopping me changing any files as it will work - then not work again no error to give any hint as to whats going on
Ie I have just restarted and chromium which Id set up to sync has forgotten the account, that I was syncing - ie back to default

The boot is whatever is installed by default - I think grub

Is anyone aware of issues with this pc
Is there a better option for boot loader - and if so where can I find detailed hand holding through that (as in every single command I need the exact syntax down to the dots, ~, $ etc)

Anything else that the above symnptoms might be implying?

I can send contents of files as long as someone tells me the path to them, and check other things as long as someone tells me where in the UI or exactly how in the terminal to get the info needed. Im pretty computer literate - but have basically no knowl;edge of linux command syntax, or file structure (Im dammed if I can install anything without using the package installer) I do not know what the rules are for where things are - I have figured out usr/share seems to be apps - but not everything - not the launch file..?) and media / mnt is drives etc
and that is about it...

PLEEEEEAAASEEEE HELP - Else someone in the street below my apartment is likely to get hit in the head by the bloody thing when I throw it out the window.

the above is by no means a complete list of symptoms - that would require the server these forums are on to double their storage even as a text file there are so many dam things...

Oh and as I post this - I am trying to get at the pics I took and the drive is mounted - but double click or right click and open - nothing...and no error - Im root at the moment (rooted would be more appropriate)

Ok now got error unable to mount l;ocation - it was mounted.... (its a brand new 8gb kingston usb drive i brought 2 days ago)

Crashing

Excuse me for saying so, but I'm wondering if your problem is hardware related and not actually software related. You had problems with Windows crashing, you had problems with Puppy, and now you have problems with Ubuntu crashing. Do you see a pattern (patterns are the way to solve most faults)? Maybe there is a problem with something hardware related e.g. the hard drive is on its last legs or the RAM is faulty.
While I don't think the RAM is the cause of your problem, I think I would start by doing a check that because if it isn't working right then everything else you do is irrelevant.
Once you've done that, check the HDD is actually good. This is a laptop, so has it ever been dropped or given a hard knock ("ever" meaning "even once")? Is the HDD making a clicking noise? Does the HDD size keep shrinking? These are signs the HDD is about to die and should be replaced. And yes, if the laptop has been dropped or given a hard bump, and especially if the case has signs of such damage (e.g. "gravel rash" or cracks), then replace the HDD.
Also, does the problem happen after you have flattened the battery and then turn it on straight after connecting up the power supply? Remember that a flat battery that has just been connected to a charger is drawing close to the maximum current from the charger, so starting the computer straight away as well as with a battery that has been flattened will make the voltage a bit unstable, so give it at least a few minutes to charge up before starting up.
I hope that helps.