I really think the tower is dead. It hasn't been officially diagnosed, but it made strange whirring, chirping and clicking noises until it just seized mid-chirp, stopped doing everything and made a sound like it had flatlined.
So, I am using the laptop we bought for the boy last September. It's keyboard is quite strange and the "w" is wonky. Apologies.
Other than all my personal pictures from 2011 (and 2012, so far) and Microsoft Word (which I purchased less than a year ago licenced for use with one machine) I'm really not worried about losing what was on there. Actually, I just realised, honestly? I'm trying not to think about it too much--that ay I can't remember all that I've lost. Fortunately, I transferred just about everything on that hard drive to an external hardrive at the end of 2010 so everything prior to that is OK.
After the beast flat-lined, I turned it off to work on the desk.
I removed old files for doing our taxes and made up new ones. Sorted, filed and tossed the rest, you know the drill. After a couple of hours (or so) here we are: