Boots to terminal and won't allow login
I have Linuxmint - 8 helena, kernel Linux 2.6.31-14 generic, Gnome 2.28.1 installed. It worked reasonably well for a few months then one day the mouse started malfunctioning. When you moved the mouse the cursor would zip around all over, pop up here and there, no control over it's movements. It would also pop up little windows as if you pressed the right mouse button and would make apps open up as if I had selected them. I finally got it to the start button and got it to restart. Once it did it now loads up to the green background as if loading the desktop, bit that's it. No icons or anything except a terminal window with drawings of reindeer or something, along with sensless remarks. I don't know what they are. That would be ok if it would let me access anything, but when I try and use the su or other commands to try and startx or something like that as someone told me to, it says I don't have permission. So I am stuck with the terminal window that won't do anything. I have 2 other accounts on the computer that were never used yet, so I thought I could access something through one of them, but once logged into them I am still denied access to make any chamges or initiate any commands in the terminal windows. The mouse and all the keyboard keys are functioning normally now, it's just that the main account I always used just loads up to the funny terminal window, and the other accounts load normally but deny me access to most software. I never made any changes to the system, it just happened after the one time the system went wild with the mouse.
I could easily just reinstall, but I had family vacation pics and vids on there and would love to access them to copy them off first. I used a live cd to access the drive and the vids were there one second then disappeared. I'm not sure what would cause this behavior since I've heard it probably isn't a virus as in windows.
Another thing I noticed is that when I run the system monitor it says the cpu is running between 80 and 100 percent for over a minute or two at a time with a dip to about 50 percent for about 10 seconds at a time. That's with nothing open, just the monitor software. I have an AMD Athlon XP 1500+ with 1.5 GB memory and a 2 GB swap file. Although the system info in Linuxmint says it's 1.2 GB memory. I just noticed that if I click the middle buuton at the upper top corner of the monitor window and it's size is reduced on the desktop the cpu usage drops instantly to 20 percent, although that may not have anything to do with the other problem with losing access to the use of my main account, that may be why the comp always seems slow, maybe any window overloads the system. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Linuxmint - 8 helena
kernel Linux 2.6.31-14 generic
Memory = 1.2 GiB
Processor = AMD Athlon XP 1500+